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FINDING GOD 




NORTH CAROLINA 



Compiled and Edited by 
Randy Wasserstrom & Zuzanna Vee 



Finding God 
In North Carolina 




ililli 



H ., l ,c a roUn« ? 




My reason for starting in America is that America, being the most 
deeply engrossed in material things and suffering the most in 
consequence, is the soil on which a new spiritual rebirth will first 
take place. America requires only the guiding hand of a Master to 
redirect its material powers to the heights of spirituality. 



-Meher Baba in Bandarawela, Ceylon 
January 26th, 1933 



Finding God 
In North Carolina 

By Randy Wasserstrom 
and Zuzanna Vee 



Editors: Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 

Cover Design: Zuzanna Vee 

Layout: Dana Mortensen and Lulu.com 

Avatar: Meher Baba 

Finding God in North Carolina 2008 

All rights reserved 

FIRST EDITION 

First Printing, 2008 

Reproduction or translation of any part of this work beyond that permitted by Section 1 07 or 1 08 
of the 1976 United States Copyright Act without permission of the copyright owner is unlawful. 
Requests regarding permission, distribution, or further information should be addressed to: Randy 
Wasserstrom, 154 Manhattan Court, Cary, NC 27511 or randwass@earthlink.net 

ISBN: 13:978-0-9794437-0-1 

Cover Photo with kind permission from Daniel Ladinsky 

Printed in the United States of America 



/ intend to bring together 

all religions and cults like 

beads on one string, revitalizing 

them for individual and 

collective needs. 

My Message has been 

and always will be of Divine 

Love. Let the world know it. 

Avatar Meher Baba 



Table of Contents 



Acknowledgements xi 

Preface xiii 

Introduction 1 

History of Meher Baba's Visits to North Carolina 3 

History of Meher Baba Groups in North Carolina 11 

The Stories 21 

Asheville 23 

Anne Centers 23 

Suka Chapel 24 

Roger Dubois 28 

Barbara Katzenberg 35 

William Stanhope 37 

Susan Taylor 41 

Chapel Hill 45 

Winnie Barrett 45 

Dorothy Cassidy 65 

Marc Flayton 69 

Leela Graber 69 

Lisa Gilland 75 

John Gunn 79 

Marshall Hay 88 



viii Finding God In North Carolina 

Najoo Kotwal 98 

Jerry Levitt 1 04 

Terry McCarthy 107 

Jean McKinney 113 

Harry and Sharon Muir 115 

Nick Principe 120 

Betty Prioux 121 

Nancy Sasser 129 

Barbara Scott 137 

Barbara and James Spivey 140 

GabriellaTal 144 

Bob Underwood 147 

Zuzanna Vee 149 

Charlotte 169 

Rita Gordon 169 

Patricia Nims 173 

Durham 177 

Evan Ashkin 1 77 

Maggie Butler 180 

Cynthia Drake 181 

Tim Garvin 1 82 

Jane Haynes 190 

Stacy Miller 207 

Greensboro 213 

Laura Kelly 213 

Rick Kelly 214 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee ix 

Hillsborough 217 

Kathy Alberter 217 

Eddie Hauser 220 

Icard 225 

Sue Frye 225 

Pittsboro 233 

Eric Kastner 233 

Raleigh 239 

Cindy Bizzell 239 

Martha Buchanan-Forte 24 1 

Deborah Burns 242 

Ron Davis 246 

Rebecca Eagles 247 

Stephanie Gage 251 

Steven Gage 253 

Chuck Mays 255 

Trudy Robbins 260 

Glenn Sheffield 261 

Craig and Louise Smith 264 

Randy Wasserstrom 267 

Rosman 271 

Gilbert Webb 271 

Wake Forest 275 

Maureen Meehan 275 



x Finding God In North Carolina 

Wilmington 277 

Barry Alpert 277 

Rick Berman 278 

Carol Gunn 280 

Kaye Panicke Lewy 291 

Winston Salem 295 

Gavin Elliott 295 

Barbara Haliburton 305 

Deene Olsen 306 

Appendix 307 

Sharon Muir 's 1 967-8 Letters 309 

1967 Winston-Salem Journal article 320 

Meher Baba Lovers in Chapel Hill in the 1960's 321 

North Carolina Baba Groups and Contacts 322 

Meher Baba Centers Worldwide 323 

Towns and cities Baba passed through or visited 325 

Kitty Davy's Letter to Jane Haynes 326 

Biographical Sketch of Meher Baba 327 

Three Prayers by Meher Baba 328 



Acknowledgements 



For proof-reading and suggestions: Louise Garnant, and 
Patricia Nims. For initial layout: Ray Madani. For fundrais- 
ing help: Ron Davis, Cynthia Drake, Gabriella Tal. For help 
with photographs: Martin and Christine Cook, Pat Summers, and 
Gilbert Webb. For kind permission to use the Baba-as-Krishna 
photo and Jane Haynes story: Wendy Haynes Connor. For Baba 
photos courtesy of M.S.I. Collection, India. For kind permission to 
reprint the lyrics from Unstoppable Train: Caris Arkin and Work- 
Horse Productions, Italy. For consulting expertise: Ed Legum and 
Chuck Mays. For their generous monetary contributions to the 
project: Martha Buchanan-Forte, Jeff Davis, Cynthia Drake, Sue 
Frye, Rita Gordon, Jim Migdoll, Stacy Miller, Barbara Roberts, 
Carol Verner, and many other anonymous contributors. For kind 
permission to use her personal correspondence: Sharon Muir. For 
miscellaneous important pieces of the puzzle: International Minute 
Press. For your willingness, time and love: all those who contrib- 
uted their stories. 

For creating the whole beautiful, wild dance: Avatar 
Meher Baba. 



Preface 



Finding God in North Carolina is a collection of 'coming- 
to-Baba'stories.The criteria for story submission was to have 
lived or presently live in North Carolina regardless of where 
one found out about Meher Baba. The stories in this book respond 
to the question, "How did you find out about Meher Baba?" 

The stories are organized in alphabetical order first by 
city, then by contributing author. The appendices contain digitally 
scanned original letters never before reprinted; and an article about 
Meher Baba that appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal in 1967. 

This book is a unique contribution to the 'Baba Library'. 
It outlines Meher Baba"s travels through the state, and details the 
creation and evolvement of the main groups devoted to Baba in 
North Carolina. The gems within give us repeated glimmers of 
how the God-Man works: putting events into motion years before 
they become manifest to our finite senses. 

The first Baba group in Chapel Hill ignited with sponta- 
neous love for God and the brush caught fire. It is still burning 
brightly. We hope that this book will be of interest not only to 
North Carolinians, but to all regardless of when or where they 
found out about Baba. It may also inspire the unsuspecting reader 
to find out more about Meher Baba and to wonder at their own life 
and connections with God. 

It has been a rare pleasure to be part of this project and 
to witness with continual amazement the unbelievable love and 
attention that Meher Baba lavishes on each and every one of us. 

May your love for Him continue to burn, 

Zuzanna Vee 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 

February 2008 



Introduction 



In early 2006, Baba gave me the inspiration to collect and pub- 
lish North Carolina 'coming-to-Baba' stories. When I sent out 
an email to the Baba community of central North Carolina 
soliciting interest, I got a good response, inspiring me to continue 
with the project. 

Of particular inspiration was hearing from Zuzanna Vee, 
who enthusiastically volunteered to help. She then became the 
book's co-editor, now entitled Finding God in North Carolina. We 
pursued this wonderful project, gathering many great Baba stories 
and feeling the presence of the God-Man! 

All of these stories are really The One Story of how we all 
seek and find God, whether in North Carolina or elsewhere. What 
is truly inspirational is the grace of the Avatar which allows each 
of us to recognize Him and to gradually realize Him! 

Randy Wasserstrom 
Cary, North Carolina 



History of Meher Baba's 
Visits to North Carolina 



Meher Baba traveled through North Carolina in 1952, 1956 
and 1958 in concert with His trips to the Meher Spiritual 
Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (10 miles from 
the North Carolina border). The first time He traveled through the 
Tar Heel State was in April, 1 952, when He and His entourage went 
by train from New York to Florence, South Carolina en route to 
His first visit to the Meher Spiritual Center. On the last leg of this 
train journey, Baba and His group passed through North Carolina, 
including the capital city of Raleigh. 




1951 Nash Statesman, car in which Baba rode. May 1952 
Photo courtesy of Charles Test's "Chuck's Toyland" website 



Finding God In North Carolina 



Meher Baba's 1952 route through Western North Carolina 



Ducktown 




Asheville* 






(26 

-/ 



Murphy 



Hayes ville 
Brasstow 



Brevard 

Franklin, , dllasaja Lake Cherryfield /} ^edar^ 

Gneiss Toxaway^ ^ : (276,- . ,S 

)"';..;• ; > — •' "'--,.■'" "RosmarT /* '-.«■• 

..; 64 . •.. {"'Cashiers ■*•*>• Caesars 

n A- Shooting Highlands* !*&•<*' ' Head 



Circle__ 
G.A. 



( 



Meher"s Baba's route through the North Carolina Mountains 



Meher Baba stayed at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle 
Beach from April 21st to May 20th, 1952, thus inaugurating 
His Home in the West. He left the Center on May 20th in a 1951 
Blue Nash Statesman car, driven by Elizabeth, heading for Ojai, 
California, the next stop on His American visit. 

Baba's car was followed by a station wagon driven by 
Sarosh. After stopping for the night in South Carolina, the group 
traveled through western North Carolina on Route 64, including a 
stop in Brevard for ham sandwiches, hot dogs and cakes. They con- 
tinued on the winding mountain road to Murphy, where they spent 
the night at the Mooreland Heights Tourist Court at 5 1 Valley Drive, 
one minute from downtown Murphy. According to a contemporary 
booklet on Murphy accommodations, the motel was: 

A tourist court with personality, catering to discriminating 
guests who are given the personal attention of the management 
whether they stay a day or the season. The cottages have large 
rooms insulated with rock wool, and all have private baths and 
screened porches. They have sweet rest beds and electric heat. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 




Mooreland Heights Deluxe Tourist Court, Murphy, North Carolina 
Photo courtesy of Murphy Public Library 



The next day, they followed the same road out of North 
Carolina into Tennessee. Two days later on May 24, 1952, in 
Prague, Oklahoma, Baba's accident occurred and Baba, Mehera 
and Elizabeth were injured. After being treated in Prague for ten 
days, Baba was transported on June 4th (arriving on June 7th) by 
ambulance back to Myrtle Beach where He continued His recu- 
peration at Youpon Dunes, a house situated right on the ocean. 

On June 20th, Baba was driven by ambulance to Duke 
Hospital in Durham, North Carolina for an examination of His leg 
cast. He was accompanied by Mehera in the ambulance and was 
followed in a second car by Goher, Donkin, Meherjee, Sarosh, 
Nilu, Meheru and Mani. On the way to Durham on route 15-501, 
Baba and his entourage passed through Chapel Hill, home of the 
University of North Carolina. 

Baba stayed for four nights in Duke Hospital, 200 Trent 
Drive, room 3023. Sarosh stayed with him. The rest of the group, 
stayed at The Dutch Village Motel at 2506 Elder Street. Baba was 
examined by Dr. Lenox Baker, an orthopaedist and Mehera was 
examined by Dr. Barnes Woodhall, a neurologist. On June 24th, 



Finding God In North Carolina 







!«: ;:.., 



Duke Hospital, circa 1930 
Duke University Medical School Archives 




Dr. Lenox Baker, Baba's physician at Duke Hospital. Photo 1948 
Duke University Medical School Archives 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 

Baba and His group returned to Youpon Dunes. He continued to 
recuperate there until July 14th. 

On July 14, 1952, Baba, the men and women mandali, Ruano 
Bogislav, Elizabeth Patterson and Sadie Martin (Elizabeth's nurse) 
traveled by car from Youpon Dunes to Florence, South Carolina 
where they boarded a train to New York. On this trip, they again 
passed through North Carolina (as they had in April). 

Four years later, in July, 1956, Baba made a second trip 
to the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach. He was met in 
New York by forty-four of His western followers, who were to 
accompany Him to Myrtle Beach and to California. The group 
boarded National Flight 361 at Newark Airport on July 24th. 
The plane was completely filled by the God-Man's entourage 
except for two women. On the flight to Wilmington, North Carolina, 
Baba called Darwin Shaw over to Him and had a conversation 
about the racial situation in America between the blacks and the 
whites. {Lord Meher, vol. 14, p. 4997). Just before the plane 
landed, Baba motioned to Darwin and and said, "As soon as we 
land, take me to the men's room." When He got off the plane, 
Baba asked Otto Troegel to take Him to the men's room. Otto 
took Him to the one which read 'white'. Baba went in but came 
out and entered the restroom which read 'colored', where he 
went to urinate. 

From the Wilmington Airport, Baba, Elizabeth and two of 
the mandali were driven to Myrtle Beach in a station wagon driven 
by Elizabeth's nephew Harry Hartshorne. Harry, a farmer, had 
met Baba in 1952. When Baba was introduced to him again, He 
said, "I am a farmer too. I till the Universe." {Lord Meher, vol. 14, 
p. 4998). Three other cars and a bus transported the rest of the 
group to the Meher Spiritual Center. 

Baba stayed for six days at the Center and then departed at 
10 am on July 30th. His car was followed by the rest of the group 
in buses to the Wilmington Airport. At the airport, Baba sat on a 
wooden bench and had a small bowl of food prepared by Kitty. 
The group then boarded National Flight 320 at 1:10 pm and flew 
to Washington D.C. 



8 Finding God In North Carolina 




Meher Baba in the Lagoon Cabin, 1956, Public Domain 



In May, 1958 Baba returned to America for His third and 
final visit to the Meher Spiritual Center. At 11:50 am on May 1 7th, 
Baba, Eruch, Adi, Nariman and Donkin took National Flight 325 
from Idlewild to Wilmington, North Carolina. They were met at the 
airport by Kitty and Elizabeth (and a few others) and driven to the 
Center. Baba stayed at the Center for thirteen days, until May 30th, 
when He departed at 5:30 am in a car with Elizabeth, Kitty and 
the mandali. Another car with Jane Haynes and Ruth White 
followed them. 

At the airport, while all crowded around Him, Baba sat in 
a canvas chair at the base of a pillar. Anita Viellard asked Him, 
"How long have you been here at the airport?" Baba replied, 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 




Wilmington Airport, circa 1950 Photo of a 

photo in a display at The New Hanover International Airport, Wilmington 

Photo by Randy Wasserstrom 



"Since Eternity! I never came and I never go. I am present every- 
where. Isn't it wonderful that I never leave? Isn't it wonderful?" 
{Lord Meher, vol. 15, p.545 1) At one point, Baba got up and went 
to the Men's room marked 'colored', and then came out and sat at 
a different spot apart from the group. At 8:30 am, Baba, accompa- 
nied by Lud Dimpfl , Eruch, Adi, Nariman and Donkin, departed on 
National Flight 326 to Washington D.C. The plane made a stop in 
New Bern, North Carolina, and then continued to D.C. 

During this 1958 trip, Baba met eight people from North 
Carolina in Myrtle Beach. They were Jane, John, Charles, and 
Wendy Haynes from Durham; Harry and Violette Hutchins from 
Asheville; Charles Turner from Newton and Biddie Mae Price 
from Winston-Salem. They all signed the guest registry book cur- 
rently on display in Baba's house at the Meher Spiritual Center. 



1 Finding God In North Carolina 

Jane Barry Haynes was born December 14, 1926 in Durham, 
North Carolina. She married Sonny Haynes in the mid 1940's and 
they had three children: John born in 1947, Charles, 1949 and 
Wendy, 1951. She first went to the Meher Spiritual Center in 1957 
and met Baba on his 1958 visit there. In 1962, she and her chil- 
dren went to the East- West Gathering in India. About this time, she 
became the third leader of the Center, with Kitty and Elizabeth. 
She died in 1997. Charles and Wendy have been active in the Baba 
community all their lives. 

Violette was born Floy E. Whitmire on June 25, 1894 in 
Geneva, Ohio; She married Harry Hutchins of Cleveland, and the 
couple moved to Asheville in the 1930's. Violette died in 1960. 
Harry, a chiropractor, was born in 1895 and died in 1988. 

Essie Mae Hill, known as Biddie, was born April 15, 1903 
in New Hope, North Carolina. She married Eugene Price and the 
couple lived in Winston-Salem. When Biddie met Baba in 1958, 
she was living at the historic Zinzendorf Hotel in downtown 
Winston-Salem. Biddie died November 20, 1 967, not quite a month 
after an article about Meher Baba appeared in the Winston-Salem 
Journal (see appendix). 

Charles Turner, a stockbroker and real estate agent, was 
bom May 1 1 , 1 9 1 8 in Newton, North Carolina. He married Dorothy 
Creech and had two sons and a daughter. In 1973, while visiting 
one of his sons in North Carolina, he drowned at a local lake. 



Meher Baba Groups in 
North Carolina 



Although the first Baba group in North Carolina began in 
Chapel Hill in 1967, there were seeds planted of Baba- 
connections before that year. Elizabeth Patterson's par- 
ents lived in Pinehurst in the 1940's, exactly when Elizabeth was 
searching for a sight for the Meher Spiritual Center. Jane Haynes, 
who became one the caretakers of the Center in the 1960's, grew 
up in Durham. Najoo Kotwal, who lived with Baba for many years 
in India, went to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 
1960 and 1961. She had requested and received Baba's permission 
to go there. 

By the mid 1960's, these Baba 'seeds' were about to sprout. 
In Chapel Hill, as the 'hippie' movement began to burst out across 
the country, a few young seekers in Chapel Hill (near the University 
of North Carolina) gravitated torward one another. Among these 
young people (mostly students), were Marshall Hay, John and 
Barbara Gunn, Nancy Sasser, Lisa Gilland, Sharon and Harry Muir, 
Bob Underwood and others (see appendix). All were 'seekers' and 
most were experimenting with drugs, particularly LSD. By 1965, 
they began to 'hang out' together in Chapel Hill and many of them 
lived on Rosemary Street, near the UNC campus. 



1 2 Finding God In North Carolina 



Meher Baba Reading Rooms in Chapel Hill, 1967-1982 





XL 

^ n\ J^(1967-1968) 



2\ ^ 



(1968-1976) Wi 

101 N Columbia St 



159E Franklin St 



118 E Main St { / \ UNC 

(1S76-1982) PiL^***"""™^ Franklin St \ 

Columbia St 



(Baba drove down Franklin St. in June 1952) 



Chapel Hill Baba Reading Rooms 1967-82 



Marshall was destined to be the Baba catalyst for this bud- 
ding group of seekers (his story is included in this book).The story 
of the Chapel Hill group's emergence is wonderfully described in 
the book The Golden Thread, Meher Baba-Chapel Hill - 1967 by 
Barbara Scott. 



The Asheville Group 

The Asheville Baba Group, located in the western North Carolina 
mountains, was begun by Winnie Barrett, Cathy Haas Riley 
and Debbie Nordeen in 1996. All three women were (and are) 
long time Baba lovers and all had recently moved to Asheville. 
Meeting in people's homes, the group's attendance increased 
rapidly and today Asheville has the largest group of Baba lovers 
in North Carolina. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 



13 




First Chapel Hill Reading Room, 1967-8, 

159 E. Franklin St., Above Sutton's Drug Store 

Photo by Randy Wasserstrom 



The Chapel Hill Group 

In May, 1967, following a talk by Rick Chapman in Chapel Hill at the 
Wesley Foundation, many who attended that talk visited the Meher 
Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach. This visit was the true catalyst to the 
formation of the Baba group in Chapel Hill in the following months. 
The first meetings took place at the home of Barbara and John 
Gunn in Victory Village. A short time later, Monday night meetings 
began in a rented room over Sutton's Drug Store at 159 E. Franklin 
Street in downtown Chapel Hill. Speakers such as Henry Kashouty 
from Hampton, Virginia, came to give talks there and contact was 
also made with Baba's secretary, Adi K. Irani, in India by the group. 
The question remained as to who would be the leader of the 
new group. All the participants were young and passionate, but very 
new to Baba. A letter was written to Adi about this question and it was 



1 4 Finding God In North Carolina 




Second Chapel Hill Reading Room, 1968-76, 

101 N. Columbia St., Second floor, middle window 

Photo by Randy Wasserstrom 



decided that Baba Himself would be the leader!! This was unprede- 
cented in Baba groups and gave a special 'distinction' to Chapel Hill. 

Sharon Harmon Muir was appointed secretary of the group 
and began to correspond with Adi about the running of the group 
and its functions. The Reading Room, as the space was called, was 
moved in 1 968 to a location at the corner of Franklin and Columbia at 
1 1 N. Columbia Street over the Central Carolina Bank. During this 
period, the passion for Baba grew quickly as many new people heard 
about Baba and attended the meetings. Speakers such as Lynn and 
Phyllis Ott, Allen Cohen and Baba's nephews, Sohrab and Rustam, 
also came to the meetings. 

On January 31, 1969, Baba dropped His body, shocking 
many of the members of the Chapel Hill Group, who never got to 
meet Him in person. Shortly thereafter, most of the people in the 
group decided to attend the Last Darshan, which was to take place 
in May, 1969 in India. The remarkable experience of the Darshan 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 5 



fclEHEReABA' AKMHmGAR TELSRMOME NO. 268- MMKSN»a*R 



> >uve cc«e ADI K. IRANI 



H THOSE W«0 LCSE 
TW6IR ALL IN WE 

N0TTOTEA=H_ _ CISOPIS A S6CSETARV rnd THEIR ALL IN 

SUT TO AWAKEN A V A T A « MEHER BA3A HE EVEH AFTER*' 

-MtbT&ib* -Usher Baba 



Het So. 1h<,r0n Hara °" mffi k o a d 

1818 Birminuham St. ahmeumgar 

"WWW, V. 2. 27701, I'.S. I. MAHARASHTRA STATE 

I W D I A 

My dear Sharon, October 1, 1967 

I received your letter Sept. 19 and read it carefully, four letter is very interest 
ing as it is full of sincere enquiries. Before answering all the questions one afta 
another, I would first state what one is expected to be, to become a worthy lover, 
devotee, or disci Die of Meher Baba. 

1) Cne should love Meher Baba with Utmost unselfishness. 

2) Cne should obey Heher Baba, If no orders can be had directly from Him, then one 
should live as Saba wants him or her to live from the understanding one gets 
frora Meher Saba's writings. 

Answers to your questions . 

1) The "introduction to Meher Baba" is of primary importance. To attend Heher Baba 
Centre meetings wojld be meaningless if one is not fully acquainted with "Who Meher 
Baba is"? The answer to this is found in the booklet "The Highest of the High," 

in the words of Meher Baba. 

2) The meetings could be "to help and strengthen those who do love and try to follow 
the Master." Undoubtedly, this subject depends on Ho,1 - the greater the love for 
the Master, the greater the faith in "^ho Meher Baba is?" and greater the strength 
and help. 

3' Vorship is the natural element of love, and the length of time spent "to discuss", 
with love is indeed helpful. "^jM 

4) "Saba sossio" is a subject vhich some of the Centres in India^recoune to. In 
fact, the Indian Baba Centers have varied weekly programs of prayers, sonjs. anisic, I 
»ossip, lectures, worship and discussions. 

In short, deir Sharon, all the different subjects asked for by different 
persons interested in Meher laba become parts of the whole fabric of lave for and 
obedience tn Him if not for now, for later. There should be no feelin? of confusion 
about vhv n^rsons want raeetinss to be conducted differently. Let there be accoamOdaJ 
tien for all needs and temperaments as much as it could be practically ''ore, Meher 
,r hh;i ! s spirituality i", nor bereft of •vracticality. Ifhers it cannet be ssade practice' 
for a certiin tv"« of orormii! on certain day or Jays then the :ne»bers of the Centra 
should accomodate ':he management in a spirit of 1ovin<? cooperation and help. No 
"leader" is needed. Meher Baba is the only Leader. Mar be those who have been with 
v yicr "aba for a Ion;; time or these who lave studied His works thoroughly with love 
and lonxing are Setter 'laced to interoret nad answer nu.:niop<;. 

"lod Soea'<s", Meher Saba's rvst important work, should be studied thoroughly acd a 
ccn-mert^ry \i %'ivsn of the paras and chapters therein, it is cf -;rea* value to fcnev 
what Jfeher ''aba says on Iod, spirituality, conscisusness etc. 

tny questions at any time are welcome to .ue. 

' ith a wish of Saba's Love blessing to you and to all those who attend the meetings. 

fauw-fcrctherly, 



JHT» ^ 



%*■** 



Letter from Adi K. Irani to Sharon Muir, October 1, 1967 



16 



Finding God In North Carolina 




Third Chapel Hill Reading Room, 

1976-82, second floor, third window from left 

Photo by Randy Wasserstrom 



further solidified the link of Chapel Hill to the Ancient One. At 
that event Eruch told John and Barbara Gunn and Marshall Hay, 
"I wish I could put it before your eyes how proud Baba made us to 
feel of Chapel Hill." (The Golden Thread, p. 113). 

Meetings continued to be held in the Reading Room on 
North Columbia Street until 1976, during which time Baba's name 
spread to nearby communities, and the group became known as the 
Chapel Hill-Raleigh-Durham group. In 1976, the Reading Room 
was again moved, this time to a room on the second floor of 1 1 8 E. 
Main Street in Carrboro (a 'suburb' of Chapel Hill). In 1982, the 
Chapel Hill-Raleigh-Durham Group gave up the Reading Room 
and began to meet in members' homes. This practice continues 
until this day. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 7 



The Charlotte Group 

Walter Creasy Overcarsh, an older Baba lover, was the catalyst 
for the early meetings of the Charlotte Group in the 1970's. In the 
early 1980's, Gavin and Dee Elliott hosted a weekly Discourses 
meeting at their home for about two years, while Gil and Chitra 
Alvarado also hosted meetings in Charlotte. Some of the partic- 
ipants were Rita Gordon, John Grooms, Patricia Nims, Kathryn 
Horn, Artie Small, Lee Faulkner, Helen Harrill, Joyce Houser and 
Mike Quinn. By the mid 1980's, participation became more spo- 
radic, but Joyce Houser hosted occasional monthly meetings. 



The Greensboro Group 

In 1968, Bob Underwood and Dorothy Cassidy, two young Baba 
lovers, were the creators of the first Greensboro Baba Group. This 
group met on Monday evenings at UNC Greensboro. In the early 
years of this group's existence, Elizabeth Patterson asked Bob if 
he could find Herb Lewis, who had met Norina Matchabelli at her 
talks in New York in the 1940's. Herb turned out to be a 'street 
bum' who Bob found 'hanging out' at the Greensboro Public 
Library. Herb told Bob that shaking Norina 's hand was like "an 
electric charge going up your hand." Herb then attended many of 
the group meetings at UNC Greensboro. 

By the late 1970's the group started to ebb, but Joel Metzger 
and Doug Webb managed to keep it together. It then evolved into a 
group encompassing the nearby communities, especially Winston- 
Salem. Gavin and Dee Elliott moved to Winston-Salem from 
Charlotte in the summer of 1 99 1 and were among the prime initiators 
of the continuing meetings. Gavin also created a newsletter for the 
group. Today Sheldon Herman and Annette Boss are the leaders of 
the group. 



1 8 Finding God In North Carolina 

The Wilmington Group 

Wilmington was touched early on by Baba's arrival at the 
Wilmington Airport in 1956, when He was en route to the Meher 
Spiritual Center. He also came through the same airport in 1958. 
His arrival seemed to presage the many native 'Wilmingtonites' 
who would become Baba lovers in the 1960's and 1970's. 

Joseph Funderburg, in the 1960's, was the first person to 
hear about Baba and to tell others about Him. Mary C. Morton, 
the first organizer of Wilmington meetings, was among the people 
who heard about Baba from him. Mary, called 'C by her friends, 
started the meetings in the early 1970's. She was paraplegic from 
a car accident and quite an inspiration to those attending meetings. 
She was married to Bill Morton, a Baba lover. Also her brother 
Alex Morton was a Baba lover who came to meetings. 

Some of the early participants in meetings were 
Norman Akel Barry Alpert, Don Carmen, John Kallman, Jo Ann 
Marian, Kaye Panicke, Fran Rubinetti, Marion Saflfo and Lindsey 
Wessell. Rick Berman would also visit from time to time. Addi- 
tionally, Bhau, Aloba, Katie and Kitty participated and/or spoke in 
Wilmington gatherings. 

On Nov. 20, 1977 a public meeting, with Henry Kashouty 
as guest speaker, was held at UNC Wilmington in the library audi- 
torium, and it was well attended. A Baba film was shown with a 
reception following. Meetings, led by Kay Panicke Lewy, continue 
to this day. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 



19 



"I HAVE COME, 

NOT TO TEACH, 

BUT TO AWAKEN' 




-Mi»k- 



A TALK ON 

THE LIFE AND WORK 

OF 



3:00 PM 
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1977 

UNCW-W Library Auditorium 

Guest Speaker 
judge Henry Kashouty 






Flier announcing Henry Kashouty 's talk in Wilmington 
*Current contact information for each group is listed in the appendix. 



THE STORIES 



Asheville 



Anne Centers 

I went to India for Amartithi, 2006 and stayed at the new Pilgrim 
Center. One night, I woke up, looked across room at the blank wall, 
and saw lines which suddenly shaped themselves into an image 
of Baba sitting in a chair! His arm was reaching out and holding 
a long three prong septer. I thought, // must be a shadow from 
the blinds on the window. There were no blinds on the window. I 
closed my eyes and when I opened them, Baba's image appeared 
again. This time Baba had on a beautiful crown and hair was flow- 
ing. I closed my eyes again, reopened them and once more the 
image appeared! 

The next morning, I told my roommate about my Baba 
vision and drew a picture of the image for her. 

Later, when talking to some women from England, we were 
pulling Dolphin cards. I pulled Poseidon holding his three prong 
triad. A short time later, when I went in the dining hall to listen to 
some Baba stories, a man wearing a necklace with a three-prong 
septer sat across from me! The three prong septer obviously was 
a sign, but what did it mean? I asked some people for their input. 
Was it representing the depth of the ocean? 



24 Finding God In North Carolina 

During this visit to Meherabad, I was also given some signs 
that I should move to Oxford, England. When I returned from 
India, I did go to Oxford. I tried to get a teaching job but it didn't 
work out. I decided to visit London and went to St. Paul's Cathe- 
dral where I was surprised to see, in a statue, a figure of a woman 
holding a three pronged septer! I then went to the Tower of London 
and looked at the memorial for seafarers lost to the sea. Here again 
was a statue of Poseidon with his triad. What did it mean? Did it 
mean I should stay or did it mean I should go? I left to go back to 
the United States the next day. 

Three weeks ago, in July, 2006, I got the message that 
I should move to Colorado from Asheville. My daughter was 
visiting at the time and we went to the movies where we saw a 
preview of The Devil Wears Prada. I saw a shoe with a three- 
pronged pitchfork in its heel! Later I saw two more of these images, 
so I took it to mean to go ahead and move to Colorado. 

That evening I went to Winnie Barrett's house for the 
Duncan movie about Baba's accident in Prague, Oklahoma. In the 
middle of the movie, I realized I had to go through Prague on my 
way across the country. I later called Michael Ivey, caretaker of the 
Prague Center, and he invited me to stay there on Saturday night. 

All these signs told me Baba is right here with me and 
letting me know it clearly. (For thirteen years I have lived my life 
by spiritual guidance, whether by signs, vivid dreams, or by being 
energy tested.) Reinforcements are always there, letting me know 
I'm not crazy and doing what I'm supposed to be doing. 

Anne was moving from Asheville, North Carolina to 
Colorado as she wrote this story. 



Suka Chapel 

I was baptized Episcopalian and raised Lutheran on a small farm 
town near Madison, Wisconsin. I was an intense, serious and 
devout child, who told my mother she was going to hell because 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 25 

she didn't go to church! You can imagine how well that went over. 
But everything changed when I read The Life of Edgar Cayce at 
the age of 17. I instantly knew he was right. I left the church 
and floated, spiritually, until my early 40 's when I discovered 
Christian Science. Not satisfied with those studies, I entered an 
Esoteric Christian, Mystery School Seminary. After three years of 
study including the world religions, Greek Mysteries, Theosophy, 
numerology, astrology, healing arts, psychic reading, and much 
more, I was ordained and have maintained my accreditation with 
the United Council of Community Churches for over 22 years. 
With a little additional study I could pastor a Community Church, 
Methodist or even Episcopal church. 

I didn't want to be a pulpit minister, but instead chose to 
conduct a personal ministry through my work as a hospital chaplain, 
Sheriff's chaplain and victim rights advocate, national speaker and 
writer, providing my own health programs, and my work as a psy- 
chiatric nurse in hospitals, drug abuse centers, adolescent treatment 
centers and correctional institutions. I continue to do this today. 

My spiritual journey deepened as I studied the teachings of 
Buddha, Ramana Maharshi, Aurobindo, Yogananda, and many other 
teachers of the East. I became a follower of Satha Sai Baba and later 
of Amachi, the Hugging Saint. Even though I was devoted to my 
spiritual journey, I never became a disciple of any teacher or Master. 

In the summer of 2003, when living in Charlotte, I saw 
an article in the paper about the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle 
Beach. I was greatly drawn to the Center, but certainly not to another 
yogi who called himself God! 

Besides, while being quite knowledgeable about Eastern 
teachers, I had never heard of Meher Baba, so he had to be another 
fake. I was recovering from having spent two years taking care of 
my parents who required my full care during their times of dying. 
I felt misplaced in Charlotte and it seemed as if I, too, were dying 
of loneliness, boredom and lack of fulfillment. 

I put the article away in a drawer thinking I might like to 
visit the center someday and went about my days as a nurse in 
an Infertility Clinic. I was becoming increasingly fed up with my 



26 Finding God In North Carolina 

employer's unrealistic demands so one day, without pre-meditation, 
I just up and quit my job. Suddenly, without expecting it, I was 
65 years old, out of a job and could not afford to retire. I needed 
to go on a retreat to go within and decide on my life course. Then 
I remembered the retreat center at Myrtle Beach. Why? Because it 
was only $20 a night, which was affordable as well as looking like 
a wonderful quiet place to meditate. So I filled out the question- 
naire and set a date to visit the Center. 

Meanwhile, I visited a friend who lived in Maggie Valley, 
near Asheville. Although I had been to her home often, I had never 
been to Asheville, other than to the Biltmore House. So we went 
gallery walking and to the Fall Arts and Crafts Show. That night, 
lying in her loft bedroom high in the trees above a babbling brook, 
with the breeze flowing in through the open window, like a dart in 
the heart, Asheville lit up in my mind and I knew without doubt or 
rationalizing, this is where I was meant to be. 

I needed work until I could sell my home in Charlotte so I 
got a job at J.C. Penney 's for the holiday season. But before I started 
that job, I went to the Baba Center for a week. Well, WOW! While 
I didn't have much use for a fake yogi, I thought it only fair that I 
learn about him if I was going to take advantage of his retreat center. 
I couldn't put the books down. I read and read, watched videos and 
asked dozens of questions of anyone who would listen. And all of the 
Baba lovers I met were such really loving people! Still, I had trouble 
believing that anyone with a nose like Baba's could be God. Yet, his 
picture in the Refectory kept haunting me and I would stare often at 
it. While at the Center, I was told that there was a large number of 
Baba lovers in Asheville and was given the names and addresses of 
Winnie Barrett and Debbie Nordeen. I thought that was a sign that I 
was truly being called to Asheville and what a 'coincidence'. 

When I returned to Charlotte to sell my home and prepare 
to move to Asheville, I read nothing but books about Baba. I moved 
to Asheville at the beginning of May 2004. As soon as I called 
Debbie Nordeen, one of the leaders of the Asheville Baba Group, 
she asked me, "Do you sing?" "Well, yes." While I rehabbed my 
home, I continued to read about Baba. The first Baba meeting 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 27 

I went to was a potluck at Winnie Barrett's mountain home and I 
continued to go to the Baba meetings. 

But here's the thing. As I argued in my mind about who 
Baba really was, he wouldn't leave me alone. He was constantly 
in my mind. He was by my side, in my home, in my car. He pulled 
tricks on me to get my attention. One beautiful Saturday afternoon, 
I was driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway and asked Baba to ride 
with me. As we passed the beautiful scenery I would talk to Baba 
about his grand creation. (No capital H before 'his' because he 
wasn't God to me yet.) Baba kept telling me to 'go faster' because 
I had an appointment in Waynesville for later in the afternoon. I 
kept telling Baba that he had all the time in the world and to take 
time to enjoy his creation. I thought of when Baba told Elizabeth 
Patterson to go faster, and I wasn't about to have an accident so I 
poked along, stopping at all the observation points. We got to the 
turn-around point and Baba smiled as I turned back onto the road 
to continue to Waynesville. It had taken about two hours to get 
to this point and then, within 30 minutes, suddenly I was back in 
Asheville. Baba had turned me in the wrong direction and I missed 
my appointment after all. So much for telling Baba what to do with 
his time! 

During that year Baba came to me in a powerful and very 
meaningful dream and I felt so blessed. As August rolled along, 
my ego began acting up and out. It knew it was in for a shake- 
up. I had never given myself fully and completely to any Master 
or Teacher because my ego liked being in charge of my spiritual 
journey. I could follow or not, anyone my ego chose. I realized that 
until I gave myself completely to a Master, I would not go any fur- 
ther on my spiritual journey. Baba had been in my mind and heart 
constantly. My reasoning mind still wasn't sure if Baba was God 
but my heart said, "What the hell, go with it." Literally! 

That September, almost a year since going to Myrtle Beach, 
I returned to the Center to sing with a group of Asheville friends. 
My ego knew in advance what was going to happen and I tried 
to not think about it. And yes, when I got to the Center, my heart 
opened up and Baba stepped through it. Now, when I looked at 



28 Finding God In North Carolina 

the picture of Baba in the Refectory, the one with the big nose, I 
accepted Baba as my Lord, Master and God. 

Since then, He (now capital 4 H') has filled my life so com- 
pletely, so wonderfully, that I truly don't worry and truly am happy, 
so happy. He has given me a voice to sing, dear Baba friends, 
Womansong friends who have become my family, opportunities to 
fulfill my dreams of serving in the community, all the music and 
art I could desire, a lovely home in the beautiful mountains, good 
health, but mostly, His constant loving, supporting Presence. With 
every new need that arises, He creates perfect answers. Baba Is. 

A couple of months after Baba filled my heart, I was diag- 
nosed with cancer. It didn't matter. I wasn't worried. It was a bless- 
ing because the Baba group rallied around me. Leatrice Shaw gave 
me such incredible support. Womansong and my co-workers moth- 
ered me. Had I not had the cancer, I would not have known such 
love and acceptance so soon after moving to Asheville. Before long, 
the cancer was removed, only to be replaced with Baba's many 
blessings. 

Since then, Baba has come in another dream giving me 
clear guidance for my career path and promising His assistance. 
When a friend, a non-Baba person, visited my home, she had a 
dream of Baba, who told her, "This is my house." Blessed is my 
life. Of course some days have mental rainy weather, but the Sun 
always shines soon after. Baba is my life, my love, my being. And 
He can be so funny! Jai Baba. 

Suka lives in Asheville. 



Roger Dubois 

When I was a kid, my mom told me a story from when I was about two 
or three years old. She said I came up to her carrying a crucifix and 
I told her I wanted to go to hell. My mom was Catholic and she was 
flabbergasted and exclaimed, "What?! What are you talking about?!" 
I said, "If Jesus had to die on the cross so I could go to heaven; I want 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 29 

to go to hell so Jesus doesn't have to be hurt for me." She then had it 
in her mind that I was going to grow up and be a priest. 

I had four brothers and I was the second oldest. There was 
a lot of tension in the family because the youngest brother was 
born with bone cancer so that created quite a bit of financial stress 
as well as worrying about whether he was going to survive (which 
he did). It was a long hard road. 

When I was thirteen or fourteen, I realized I was different. 
I was not sure how I was different, but I knew I was different. I 
finally figured out I was gay. I did not get along with my dad and 
it wasn't because I was gay. We were always at odds about every- 
thing and I was the only one in the family that would speak back to 
him. It created a lot of tension. 

My dad had grown up Pentecostal and became Catholic so 
he could many my mom. When I was about thirteen, he decided 
he wanted to go back to his original Pentecostal religion and he 
became a born again Christian. He convinced my mom to become 
a bom again Christian as well. That created a HUGE problem in 
the family because we were raised Catholic. We were told that now 
we couldn't pray to Mary anymore. I had been saying the rosary 
almost every week, not to mention the Stations of the Cross and 
other Catholic prayers. We were told that we had to pray to Jesus 
directly with no saints or other interveners. I was totally confused 
and was not about to put up with this. 

Being gay and then being told I couldn't practice the Catholic 
religion anymore - it created a whole lot of confusion. I started search- 
ing on my own for answers. I researched a little about some Eastern 
philosophies. I also started going to other types of churches with my 
friends, but nothing seemed to make sense to me. One of these friends 
was also Catholic and he and I were best buddies. We spent all our free 
time together for more than four years. My dad hated him. When I told 
my friend that I was gay, he told me he never wanted to see me again. I 
was sixteen at the time. This abandonment and all the stuff happening 
at home only added to my confusion and loneliness. 

My dad was a strong believer in coiporal punishment, and 
I had taken more than a few beatings growing up. Just before I 



30 Finding God In North Carolina 

turned seventeen, my dad and I got into a huge fight and I promised 
him, he would never hit me again. 

Sometime before my eighteenth birthday, in February 
1975, I was still very upset about my friend's abandoning me. I 
was downstairs in the laundry room and my mom came down and 
asked what was going on, why was I so depressed and angry. Also 
why did I insist on irritating my father? I told her, "You really 
don't want to know." She kept pressing me so I finally told her I 
was gay. She freaked out and said, "Get down on your knees and 
pray these demons out of you." Out of sheer defiance I got on my 
knees in front of the washing machine and I said, "Hail Maytag 
full of laundry, Ajax the ruckus and come down." She told my dad 
that I was gay. He started screaming at me and was going to hit 
me and I said, "No! I told you, you would never hit me again!" So 
when he came at me and I picked up a broom and hit him with it. I 
was told that I broke his arm. 

I knew that was it. I needed to get out of the house. I ran 
upstairs and locked the bedroom door. But he was starting to break 
the door down, so I jumped out the window wearing only jeans, a 
tee shirt and socks. It was freezing outside; after all it was in the 
middle of February in Maryland. I walked a mile down to where 
there was a store. I just walked right in and picked out some dry 
socks, some shoes and a coat, then walked out of the store. Nobody 
at the store said a thing to me; it was as if I was invisible. I had 
nowhere to go. I was clueless as to what to do or where to go. Then 
I remembered this guy I had met at the Gay Coffeehouse that they 
used to have weekly, and he said, "Don't go anywhere. I will come 
and get you." He let me move in with him and his wife for awhile 
while I finished high school. His wife had no idea that he was bi/ 
gay until that point. She accepted it quite well or at least she hid 
her anger and frustration. She was always very nice to me. 

He was a practicing warlock - a white witch. He had a room 
in his house, painted with black walls, a temple, with a goblet, a 
pentagram and a sword, a cape and all the other trappings. It was 
really rather freaky. I was jumping from the frying pan into the 
fire. He tried to teach me about his beliefs. He had actually written 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 3 1 

a couple of books so it wasn't like he was a novice at it. It was a 
strange set up. I was very confused. 

I got myself a car. I didn't really have a job, so I started 
hustling on the streets of Washington, D.C. I eventually decided I 
needed to get my own place. There was this other fellow, a hustler; 
I had met on the streets that were looking for a new place to live 
as well, so we were going to room together. We found a place and 
when I went over to help him move, there was this fellow there, 
Doug Dickey, helping him. I had the strangest feeling that I wanted 
to get to know him better, or that I knew him from before. It was 
the most intense sensation I had ever experienced. Sure, I was 
sexually interested in him, he was attractive, but it was more than 
that. I proceeded to try to impress him and only managed to make 
a complete and utter fool of myself. 

The three of us went to a local pizza place and said and did 
some stupid stuff that I was sure, had turned him off to me. I got a 
job dancing naked in a bar. It was easier than hustling and a little 
bit less degrading. About a year later, Doug came into the bar and 
I thought, Oh my god\ I was embarrassed that he might recognize 
me. He came right up to where I was dancing and sat down. I was 
very nervous. He turned around and handed me some money. After 
my set was over, I got dressed and came over and started talking 
with him. I asked him if he remembered me and he said, "Oh yeah. 
I remember you." He asked me if I wanted to go home with him. 
I told him I had another set and asked if he could wait. He said, 
"Sure. I'll wait." So we went home together. It was late when we 
got in and he told me we had to be quiet because he lived with his 
mother. So we ended up just going to sleep. 

The next morning I woke up and there was this large pho- 
tograph on the wall. I thought, What an interesting photograph 
of Jesus. But then I thought, How can there be a photograph of 
Jesus? It was a picture of Meher Baba. Doug was a Baba lover. I 
asked him, "Who is that a picture of?" He said Baba's name and 
then I said, "Tell me more about him." He wasn't willing to give 
me a whole lot of information about Baba. But he gave me his 
phone number and I kept pestering him. He said, "You are really 



32 Finding God In North Carolina 

interested in this, aren't you?" I said, "Yes I am." So he said, "Well 
I have someone I want you to meet." 

So a few days later, Doug and I were waiting to meet this 
person at a restaurant. A beautiful young woman, Wendy Haynes, 
came in and sat down. This was 1976. Doug said, "I'll see you 
guys later" and left. I had the instantaneous feeling that I knew 
Wendy before, like from a past life. I had never even heard of 'past 
lives' so this was really intense sensation of a history between us. 
She sat down and then said, "Oh excuse me. I dropped something." 
She went underneath the table and then popped back up. She had 
stuffed some napkins in her cheeks so that she looked like the God- 
father. She said (in her best Brando imitation), "I'm going to make 
you an offer you can't refuse." I was a little taken aback. Then 
she started telling me about Meher Baba. I listened intently, but I 
wasn't sure what to make of it. An 'Avatar of the Age'? Besides the 
Jim Jones Massacre was still in the news and I was a bit nervous. 

She said, "There is a group that meets every Friday night. 
Would you like to come to a meeting?" I said, "I suppose so." That 
next Friday night she came and picked me up and took me to the 
meeting. It was way out in the Maryland countryside. I got worried 
I was being kidnapped like in the Jim Jones group. I was terrified, 
but I trusted her. We arrived at the meeting, which was outside at 
this little farm house. There was at a campfire. Many of the people 
were dressed like hippies from the 60 's; I was thinking, Where the 
hell am 7?, What am I doing here? and Who are these people? 

Then the meeting started and Wendy spoke. She talked 
about her time with Baba. She said that Baba said, "I am closer to 
you than your own breath." When she said that, I disappeared out of 
my body and I started weeping. It was the first and last time I was to 
have an out-of-body experience. Three of the women, Wendy, Pam 
and Josephine, came over and hugged me and reassured me. This 
brought me back into my body. At that point I knew without a doubt 
that there was a God and Baba was it. I didn't know what I was 
supposed to do though I just kept coming to the Friday meetings. I 
had stopped hustling as I knew that was no longer an option. Doug 
Dickey and I became intimate at that point, but because of his work, 
he was gone a lot. So I made the Baba group my family. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 33 

A large group of us went to the Bicentennial Celebration 
under the Washington Monument. I helped set up before and clean 
up after meetings. I started doing floral work at a shop and would 
bring flowers to the meetings. 

Using the money I had earned hustling, I started college at 
the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. Later I moved to 
the main campus just outside of DC. Doug was my first long-term 
relationship. Doug's mother treated me like 'gold', better than my 
own parents. I felt so connected to the DC Baba group. I felt that 
they were my family. 

Meanwhile, I didn't read any Baba books. I was afraid 
to. I thought that I might find some contradiction or some other 
reason that might make me see that it was all FAKE. I went to the 
Meher Center in Myrtle Beach. I got to meet Kitty for a very brief 
time on my first visit in 1978. She welcomed me to the Center. 
She was so kind and welcoming. It was like sitting in front of 
someone who had been touched by light. I wanted her to tell me 
more about Baba, but all she wanted to do was learn more about 
me, as if I was a long time away from Home. 

Shortly after that first visit to the Center, Doug told me he 
was moving to England and would be gone a long time. I was dev- 
astated. I didn't know what to do with myself. I ended up looking 
for a full time job. I had just finished up my third year at school, 
but was too upset to think about going back. Besides money was 
getting tight and then I started working full time at a hardware 
store. A woman came in one day, and after talking to me, told me 
I had much more potential than to be working at a hardware store. 
She said she worked for an employment agency and found jobs for 
people. She asked me to come in and see her, so I did. She said, 
"I have the perfect job for you." 

She set up an appointment at a school for diesel mechan- 
ics. I thought, What do I know from diesel mechanics? But the job 
duties were to find jobs for the students after they graduated. I 
went into the office of the manager for my interview. I noticed he 
had a "De Colores" plaque on his desk. De Colores was a funda- 
mentalist Christian camp that I was familiar with, as my parents 
had gone there for some 'brainwashing'. He and I started having a 



34 Finding God In North Carolina 

spiritual conversation which went on for over an hour and eventu- 
ally I began to talk about Meher Baba. He quizzed me hard about 
my belief then said, "You're hired. Can you be here Monday at 
8 am?" It was totally based on the fact that I was talking about 
spiritual matters. We had barely touched on my qualifications, of 
which I had none. I worked for him for about three or four months. 
During this period we often sat in my office and talked. He even- 
tually told me he was gay also. It never occurred to me that he was 
gay, as he had been a career military man, and looked like an army 
sergeant. Then he told me he was leaving his wife and wanted to 
know if I wanted to move in with him. I said, "Sure, why not?" So 
we moved in together, and he continued to quiz me about Meher 
Baba all the time. So I invited him to the Baba Center and we 
went there. We remained partners for almost eleven years. 

We moved to Miami in 1980. 1 didn't find many Baba lovers 
there. I remained connected to Baba but without that "family support" 
I had become accustomed to, I went back to school and got a degree 
in 1984 in theatre. I tried to find jobs, but it was very difficult. So I 
went back into the floral industry, working for a company that did big 
parties and wedding planning. A lot of the people I worked with were 
into drugs and I began to dabble in drugs too. By 1987, 1 was a crack 
addict. I checked myself into a treatment center in May of '87 and 
found sobriety. It was at that same time, my partner left me. He was 
sick of my behavior, but he left just as the miracle happened. Then I 
felt closer to Baba than ever before. I latched on to AA like a life saver, 
which it was. All the while Baba was the Captain of my ship. 

I have had two relationships since that point. The first one 
lasted eight years. My partner did not want to know anything about 
Baba. It was a big bone of contention between us. I even took him 
to the Center and he 'ran' from there and complained bitterly that I 
was in a cult. We had moved to Asheville in 1996 and began going 
to the Unity Church. I saw a poster on the Church bulletin board 
that said: Meher Baba's birthday celebration. I thought, Oh my God! 
There are Baba people in AshevilleV." I went to this Baba birthday 
celebration and it was as if I had my family back again. I met Cathy 
Riley. I knew of her music and had heard her name from Doug, as 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 35 

he had previously dated her. I introduced myself and she reached 
over and hugged me. It was like, "Welcome back to the family." 

The relationship ended shortly after that, because he was 
a real hound dog and because I had my Baba Family back. I was 
alone for awhile, but not really, I had Baba! I went back to school 
at that point and got a bachelor's degree in nursing. 

I kept praying to Baba for me to meet a partner who would 
at least be accepting of Him, if not a full fledged Baba lover them- 
selves. In 2000, 1 was set up on a blind date with my current partner. 
He was living in Greenville, South Carolina, while I was living in 
Asheville, North Carolina. He raised ostrich and emu, and I made 
jeweled boxes out of ostrich and emu eggs, so a mutual friend sug- 
gested that we meet. I was still in my last year of nursing school. He 
was curious about Baba and started reading Baba material including 
the Discourses. On our first Christmas together, he assembled a large 
picture frame with a Baba Flag inside and had the Mastery in Servi- 
tude symbol in the middle, and lots of small pictures of Baba, with 
Baba quotes underneath them. I was overwhelmed. He had much 
more interest in finding out about the life teachings of Baba than I 
had ever been. He became a Baba lover as well. Baba had answered 
my prayers. We stay active with the Asheville family and we go 
to the Center together. He calls our house Baba's House, and tells 
people that we are just the caretakers of Baba's Mountain Home. 

Roger lived in Asheville from 1996 to 2003 and now lives 
in Greenville, South Carolina. 



Barbara Katzenberg 

It was 1 969 when I first heard about Baba. I was sailing with some 
friends at a lake near Atlanta. I went to someone's house after- 
wards whom I didn't know. 

I was sitting alone reading the newspaper in one room and 
the other people were in a back room. Someone had come in and this 
woman said she had been to a Meher Baba meeting in Atlanta and that 



36 Finding God In North Carolina 

Meher Baba had stated that he was the Christ, the Messiah. When I 
heard that, it was like alarm bells going off. I thought to myself, How 
could anyone dare to claim such a thing!\ It was a very strong reac- 
tion, but I don't think I said anything to anyone about this. 

That summer I ended up going to Myrtle Beach for a week- 
end with an acquaintance and while we were there, this person 
asked if I wanted to go to the Meher Baba Center. I started imagin- 
ing people walking around with white robes and got very scared. 
So I said, "No, I don't want to go." 

A year later, I was reading a friend's letter to his father. 
In the letter, he started talking about meeting Baba lovers and 
describing how loving these people were. Around this same time 
I was staying at a friend's apartment who had been to the Center. 
I was there alone and gazing around the apartment looking at her 
Baba pictures and glancing through her Baba books. But nothing 
really grabbed me. 

Later I was with this same friend at another time, when we 
were doing a tarot reading. It was kind of a "new age" tarot and I 
picked the Emperor card. She read that it symbolized the Christ. 

I said, "Ohhhh What does that mean?" And she said, "Well 

many people feel that Meher Baba is the Christ in this age." So 
here again was another mention of Baba and His divinity. 

Then maybe a year went by and I went through a very low 
period in my life. I had broken up with a boyfriend. I went to graduate 
school about an hour from Atlanta and was feeling very alone. This 
was 1971.1 ended up meeting someone named Marty who loved and 
followed Baba. He came to visit me at my house which I shared with 
some roommates. Just to make conversation with him, I asked him 
to tell me about Baba. He ended up talking for about two hours and 
everyone else who was there disappeared into another room. It was 
very dramatic because there was a thunderstorm and the electricity 
went off. I was really listening and taking in what he was saying and 
I felt that here was someone who was truly serious about something. 
Everything he said rang true for me. I found it real. Before he left 
that evening, I asked him if he had something I could read. I told him 
I wanted something I could sink my teeth into. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 37 

So the next day he appeared and brought me the Discourses. 
I really hungrily devoured these gems from Baba"s teachings. The 
words in the book seemed to come alive. It was as if they were 
charged. I began to fall in love with Baba. I started going to the 
Baba meetings in Atlanta and meeting people who followed Him. 
I started having very powerful dreams about Baba and was reading 
more of His words and His life story. This was at the end of 1971. 

I remember telling this story in Mandali Hall years later 
and telling Eruch about all the times Baba's name came up and I 
didn't grab on. Eruch commented that I was very stubborn. Baba 
had to keep pursuing me because it took a few years before I finally 
hooked onto Him. 

In March of 1972, 1 went with Marty and a couple of other 
people to the Meher Spiritual Center for ten days. There I wept and 
laughed and found the atmosphere very charged. The Center was 
magical both in its physical beauty and spiritual atmosphere. I was 
thoroughly charmed by meeting Elizabeth, Kitty and Jane. 

When I returned, I felt like I was floating on a cloud and it 
was difficult for me to come down to earth. But Baba helped me to 
return to the world. For the next eight years, I would spend my vaca- 
tions at the Center or in India. Then in 1980 1 moved to Myrtle Beach 
and began volunteering at the Center. Then Kitty asked if I wanted to 
work full time in the Gateway as the secretary. I was thrilled not only 
to work at the Center, but also to help Kitty and Jane with their cor- 
respondence and their other duties (Elizabeth had died by this time). 
As the years went on I spent more and more time helping Kitty, both 
during the day, in the evenings, and sleeping there at night. 

Barbara has been living part-time in Asheville since 1995. 



William Stanhope 

The following words were written in my journal moments after 
awakening on January 15, 2005. 1 humbly record these impressions 
from this dream/vision for other Baba lovers in the hope that they 



38 Finding God In North Carolina 



will be a reaffirmation of the powerful and continuing work of Baba 
in this life Jai Baba!! 



Just Before the Vision 

I had just awakened from a most powerful dream, which 
felt like the beginning of a new life of dedication to God. Before 
falling asleep again, after awakening at around 3:30 am I stepped 
out onto the deck behind the house and into the beautiful winter 
night. The air was cold. The stars shone brightly in the cobalt sky, 
and I was enfolded into the profound silence of the deep morning 
and the infinite stillness therein. The overarching sky vibrated with 
the celestial music of twinkling stars. While gazing heavenward, a 
fantastic meteorite flashed across the heavens in a long and grace- 
ful arc. I was deeply grateful to witness such a beautiful event, 
which I now see as a heralding of the dream that was to come. 

Even as I write the word 'dream' I hesitate in search of the 
correct description. The vision was so real, profound, and over- 
powering that it pains me to be separated from this sweetest sen- 
sation as my now awake state, burdened with the constraints of 
rational thought and attempting gradually to reassert its dominion 
in the concrete world of logic and ego separateness, begins to ren- 
der the experience (through the gradual application of obscuring 
veils of ordinary human consciousness) distant and inaccessible. 

I returned to my bed and, unable to sleep, picked up a copy 
of the Discourses, and read about the nature of the ego and its 
termination. At this point, I became drowsy and, turning to my 
right side in a relaxed fetal position, I attached the mantra "God is 
Great" to my breathing and quickly fell asleep. 



The Vision 

In the beginning of the dream I am searching. I am in the 
belly of a large boat. It is a large white space and I am facing a 
long corridor with closed rooms on either side. It is blindingly 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 39 

white inside the space, which contrasts sharply with what can be 
seen through a window that opens onto the deck of the boat. There 
I see a mass of tangled fishing material, nets and rope tangled 
amidst other debris typical of a working fishing vessel. 

There are some people in the room with me. I ask them 
if I could live in the boat and they respond affirmatively. I look 
again out the window and perceive now that this enormous boat is 
being drawn down into the trough of a wave and then being car- 
ried up onto the crest of the wave where it is effortlessly thrown 
into space. 

At this point I, too, am thrown into the second part of the 
dream where I am wandering in a field along a rather narrow 
stream that snakes along in front of me, disappearing in the dis- 
tance. The stream is surprising in that the water contained therein 
is absolutely crystal clear. The clarity is remarkable all the more 
because there are many cast-off objects in the stream covered with 
muck and waving fans of algae flutter in the gently flowing water. 
In fact, the stream is choked with debris, yet the water remains 
unclouded. The stream is not wide, but appears to be in some way 
bottomless, as I do not see the stream bed at all. 

As I progress along the stream I enter into apart of the field 
that has become soggy and covered in sewage. The stream flows 
into and through this sewage but is unaffected. The ground is so 
sodden that it gives way under my step and I nearly fall into a sink 
hole of muck, only barely escaping by clinging to tufts of grass 
along the edge and pulling myself up fi'om the sink hole and onto 
firmer ground. 

Now I see that there is a house on top of a hill above the 
field. I move in that direction and circle around to the left side of the 
house and eventually find my way around to thefi'ont. The house is 
shuttered but the door is open. The house is white. The shutters seem 
to be blue. It is a bungalow-type house of modest dimensions. 

There are some people standing out front and I ask them 
who lives there. They do not seem to know. I enter into the open 
door into the darkness within. There is a low couch against the 
front wall and a woman sits on the couch. I sit beside her. There is 



40 Finding God In North Carolina 

some noise coming from a room to the right and I am uneasy that 
I may be considered an intruder by whoever is making the noise. 

A man enters into the room. He is dressed in white robes that 
reach almost to the floor, has long flowing dark hair, and is youth- 
ful. I cannot yet see his face because of the obscurity or the angle. 
He stops infi'ont of me, turns to face me seated on the low couch, 
and reaches with outstretched arms down toward me. I reach up to 
grasp both arms with my own outstretched arms. He turns his head 
toward me with the most beautiful fluid slow motion movement and 
suddenly I am aware that it is the radiant face of Baba who now 
gazes into my own face. He leans forward and places the gentlest 
loving kiss directly on my forehead. 

I am electrified and suddenly jolted into a most complete 
sense of well being. I am filled with an ineffable bliss that is com- 
pletely free from earthly worry. lam an empty vessel filled with love 
and everything that is not love falls away into nothingness. All that 
remains is total happiness. I feel merged into a sea of love. I am 
charged with a precious essence and infinite peace. Now I struggle 
to see beyond something. I am trying to break free of something or 
break through something. I am trying to read an ancient text and 
struggle with the characters. Nothing seems solid. He leans down 
and places another kiss on my forehead. 

With the second kiss I am suddenly liberated in the most 
complete sense. The sense of struggle is gone. I have no sense of 
my body, and there is no identity with the body. There is no longer 
any earthly connection and the breaking of that connection has the 
effect of catapulting me into space. I am filled with enormous force, 
power, and especially freedom. I have become the vastness of space 
even as I fly through space in this disembodied state. There is no 
sound, but there are astral spheres of light on all sides, two spheres 
of softly glowing light. 

I am pulled back to my body at some point by increasingly 
overwhelming sensations of speed, power, and movement. I am 
back in the house and now I am alone. It is dark and I see there is 
another room to the left. I enter the room. It is filled with light and 
is airy. There is a bed in the room and a woman is seated on the 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 4 1 

bed. She is covered with a sky blue cover. Strewn over the cover are 
white feathers. I begin to tell the woman about my experience, but 
can only get through the first words and am overcome with emo- 
tion and sobbing, unable to even recount the barest of detail. These 
are great sobs of relief and joy, not of sadness. 

When I awakened from this dream, I lay for some moments 
in my bed in a state of stunned bewilderment. I was aware that an 
important dream had taken place and that something extraordinary 
had taken place in my life. When I remembered the kiss, great sobs 
overcame me and I remained sobbing for some time as I lay in 
my bed. I remember thinking that my life will never be the same. 
Because I did not want to forget any of the details, I wrote the 
dream down in my journal. 

The next day, as I attempted to recount the dream to my wife, 
Jane, I was at first unable to do so and once again I was overcome 
with emotion. Gradually I became aware that the person who was 
seated on the bed in the dream was my wife, and that what I expe- 
rienced with her in the dream was being played out again the next 
morning. Because she had recently returned from India where she 
spent time at the Spiritual Center, it seemed symbolic (feathers on a 
sky blue cover) that she would be in some way a sort of messenger. 

William lives in Asheville. 



Susan Taylor 

In 1996 in Asheville, North Carolina, a friend of mine told about 
the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach. Following that discus- 
sion, I went to the Center and had a fabulous time. On Sunday of 
that visit, I went to Baba's house and when I entered the compound, 
I promptly burst into tears. The energy was so incredible! But I 
wrote it off as, "Here's another wonderful being on the planet." I 
went to the Center quite often for the next nine years, but did not 
connect deeply with Baba. 



42 Finding God In North Carolina 

In May 2005, I went to the Center for the first time in 
about three years and I had an amazing experience of Baba in His 
room at His house. I was in a painful period emotionally and feel- 
ing wretched. Spontaneously, while I was sitting next to His bed, I 
could feel Him palpably in my heart and reached to give Him this 
misery and He took it! It was really a powerful transformation. 

Then I started thinking, Gosh, maybe I want to go India. I 
went back to the Center a month later to see Bhau Kalchuri. I met 
a woman there who told me that the first time her family wanted to 
go to India, they had no money. But they put aside $20.00 for that 
purpose and said, "OK Baba Fm starting my fund." And all of a 
sudden, it all worked. 

When I returned home, feeling that inspiration, I said to 
Baba, "OK, if you want me to go to India, I want to go." Then I 
went to the Center in the Fall of 2005 when Cathy Riley's group 
was singing there. Cathy, myself, and a couple of others women 
were staying in the Guest House. We were sitting in the kitchen 
having tea when Cathy suddenly said to me, "You can't wait. 
You have to go now!" She does not even remember saying that. I 
felt a bit astonished and said, "OK. Baba - you work it out and I 
will go!" While I was still there, I got a call from an old friend in 
Asheville who needed a place to stay and asked if she could stay 
with me. I said yes. So I had a house sitter. Then it all fell into 
place when someone gave me a ticket. 

At Christmas 2005 at my parents' house, I discovered a 
picture of myself at age eight swimming in the ocean at Myrtle 
Beach in August, 1958. This was right after Baba put His feet in 
the water there. Looking at the picture, I remembered this incred- 
ibly blissful state! That event was my first encounter' with Baba. 

I arrived in India at the end of January, 2006. It was an 
amazing story of how I got from Bombay to Meherabad. I was 
traveling with Louie Nordeen and he had arranged for a driver to 
take us to Ahmednagar. But when we got outside the airport at 1 
am, the driver was not there. Finally, we stayed in Bombay for the 
night. We later found out that the driver's father had died and he 
sent someone else to pick us up who had missed us. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 43 

Finally, the original driver showed up at about 3 o'clock 
the next afternoon. So we arrived at the Pilgrim Center fourteen 
hours later than we were expected. At that point I hadn't had any 
sleep for about forty hours. I was just too excited. When I arrived 
at about 9:30 pm, Debbie Nordeen was there and hugged me and 
said, "I signed you up for tomb duty from 1 pm to midnight, but 
you don't have to go because you're exhausted." I said, "Yes, I 
do!" So I leaped into some different clothes and Peter Nordeen 
drove me down to the Samadhi on his motorcycle. So I spent my 
first two hours right there at Baba's feet. My shift ended at mid- 
night and at that point it was Amartithi and my 56th birthday! So it 
was a pretty dramatic entry. 

So I am His now. 

Susan lives in Asheville. 



Chapel Hill 



Winnie Barrett 

I've been amazed at how completely Baba plans every detail of 
our lives before He sets things into motion. My coming to Him 
was in the works even before I was born. 

My mother, father and stepfather were all students at the 
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in the late 1920's and 
early 1930's. My mother and my father graduated in 1933, and 
they were married in the Fall of 1934. They spent their honeymoon 
at the Ocean Forest Hotel in Myrtle Beach, about a mile south of 
what is now the Meher Center. Elizabeth Patterson saw the Center 
property for the first time in the spring of that same year. The hotel 
is no longer there, having been replaced by a Hilton. But in its day 
it was the place to go in Myrtle Beach. 

As a young child in North Carolina, I loved going to church. 
Mom used to say I would sit on the front steps and cry if she didn't 
take me there. Even at the age of four, I always went to the regular 
church services rather than the nursery or the children's activities. 
Before I could read, I learned hymns by ear and joyously sang them 
with the adults. I listened attentively to the sermons and tried to 
absorb their messages. As I grew up, I felt Jesus's presence when I 



46 Finding God In North Carolina 

said my prayers and I knew His love. I often played church with my 
dolls using my dolls, stuffed animals and my parents as the congre- 
gation. I would preach little sermons about being good and cleans- 
ing our hearts. I led hymns and even passed the collection plate! I 
was devotional by nature and felt connected to Jesus as God. 

My parents divorced when I was five and Mom then mar- 
ried my stepfather. We moved to Plainfield, New Jersey, where 
we spent the next fourteen years. Marshall Hay, who I later met in 
Chapel Hill, also lived in Plainfield. Although I didn't meet him at 
the time, I later discovered that his mother and my step-grandfather 
knew each other there. 

When I was about nine, I used to long to take communion 
with the congregation. I was distinctly aware of the deep spiritual 
meaning of communing with the Beloved. Although I didn't put 
it into words at the time, I also began to feel more separate from 
God because of the injustice of our family and the congregation 
under the guise of Christian love. I had to wait until I was thir- 
teen to become a member of the church and was required to attend 
catechism classes and answer questions about Church doctrine. 
I found the classes boring and irrelevant, but a necessary step to 
being able to share in the sacrament of communion. I yearned to 
reconnect with my Beloved. 

Mom was a Southerner through and through, and for the 
entire time we lived in New Jersey, she wanted to return to the South. 
When my stepfather retired in 1961, our family moved to Chapel 
Hill, and in 1 963 I married a Chapel Hill native. My husband and 
I lived there from 1963 to 1967 when we separated and divorced. 
During those years, we were a part of the hip, psychedelic, coun- 
terculture scene. Marshall Hay was also a part of that scene and 
that is how my Baba story begins. 

That Can't Be God 

In the Fall of 1966, my friend Marshall returned to Chapel 
Hill after spending the summer in Myrtle Beach with his parents. 
I was glad to see him because we always had conversations about 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 47 

the cosmos, evolution of consciousness and God. He was a great 
talker, eager to expound on his own latest theories, and I was more 
than ready to learn anything that would lessen my depression and 
re-create myself. 

One day Marshall called and said he had something impor- 
tant to tell me. I put away the laundry I had been folding and went 
uptown to meet him for a couple of beers at Harry's Bar and Grill. 
It was about 4 o'clock that afternoon when I pushed opened the 
double doors and headed across the large, grimy black and white 
tile floor to the booth where Marshall was sitting. He was putting 
a dime in the little juke box that was attached to the wall in the 
booth. Oh good, I thought. This is the best juke box in town (oldies 
but goodies). I sank into a lumpy red vinyl seat. Familiar words 
floated out from the juke box: "Scotch and soda, gigger of gin, oh 
what a spell you've got me in, oh my, do I feel high..." 

I looked across the table at Marshall and noticed how 
rested, relaxed, unworried and happy he looked. We ordered two 
Buds and then Marshall took a small card from his pocket and put 
it on the table in front of me. "What's this?" I asked, picking it up. 
He answered, "That, my friend, is a picture of God in human form. 
His name is Meher Baba." I looked at the picture. Baba's face was 
wide, with a busy moustache, large twinkling eyes and a grin that 
went ear to ear. I laughed out loud. "You can't be serious. I mean, I 
don't know what I'd expect God to look like but He can't look like 
that." I put the card down and took a swig of my beer. "He looks 
like that comedian, you know, Jerry Cologna. Remember him? He 
was on TV about ten years ago." I chuckled again. "Jeez, what's 
Marshall into now?" 

Not put off by my response, Marshall began a long story 
about his summer - working at Hardee's in Myrtle Beach with 
a guy who told him about a spiritual retreat center up the road- 
run by two old ladies who used to live in India and who said that 
this guy Baba is the Avatar, the Godman, the Buddha, Christ come 
again. "He lives in India and has kept complete silence for over 
forty years. He says He loves us more than we can ever love our- 
selves." "Huh?" "And He says we can all become one with God; it 



48 Finding God In North Carolina 

is the goal of all creation, and we do it through love. And when we 
attain union with God we don't come back anymore." 

I took another drink of beer, then ordered iced tea instead. 
Now I wanted to hear everything. "You mean there's a way out 
of all this?" I was afraid to hope, but a spark shot through me and 
excitement welled up in my chest. 

A couple of hours later, I went home. My husband, Bobby, 
was back from classes, sitting in the big rocker, reading. I told 
him all about Baba and he said, "Well you know Marshall. He's 
always on a kick about something," and went back to his book. 
"Yeh, you're right, he's a fanatic," I called from the porch. I felt 
the wonder leave me and a sinking feeling began again. I thought, 
maybe a walk would help. It didn't. 

Over the next few months, Marshall and I talked a lot 
about the spiritual path and Meher Baba. One spring afternoon 
in 1967, we were sitting on the rock wall across Franklin Street 
from Harry's. Marshall was more vehement than usual. "Baba 
says He is the highest of the high. He says taking drugs isn't 
going to get you anywhere. He says if you could find God by 
taking drugs, He wouldn't be worth attaining. He says drugs are 
harmful physically, mentally and spiritually." He looked at me 
intently, as if to impress upon me the depth of his conviction and 
sincerity. "Oh," was all I could say. But I thought, What does 
Meher Baba know? He 's never dropped acid. 

Sometimes I thought Marshall was right about everything 
and sometimes our conversations re-sparked my hopes of being 
delivered from the bleakness of my life. By then, several of my 
friends had made trips to Myrtle Beach to the Center and they 
inevitably returned looking peaceful and happy. I figured some- 
thing was happening there, but whenever I mentioned Baba to 
Bobby, I felt put down and insignificant. 

One Sunday morning in May, Bobby and I were at the 
kitchen table, having just finished a late breakfast. As I collected 
the dishes and poured more coffee for us, I mentioned what Baba 
said about giving your life over to the will of God, which obligated 
Him to take responsibility for you. There really was a personal 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 49 

God who cared enough about me to lead me on the spiritual path, 
protect my spirit, reveal the Truth and love me. I'd been hoping 
for exactly that - forever it seemed. Bobby picked up the Sports 
section and over the top of its pages said, "Meher Baba's just for a 
bunch of neurotics who can't take care of themselves." I was sud- 
denly afraid of Bobby's disapproval, and so I agreed with him one 
more time. But secretly, my longing continued to grow. 

That month Marshall said he was bringing a speaker, Rick 
Chapman, who had recently met Baba in India, to town to give a talk 
about Meher Baba at the Durham Armory. I was interested enough 
to make plans to attend. The talk was to take place on a Sunday 
following an event the night before, the first light show/dance in 
North Carolina. How groovy, I thought, A psychedelic happening, 
followed by the appearance of a guy just back from India who met 
Baba. I thought this guy, Rick Chapman, must be very hip, and I 
looked forward to meeting him at the light show/dance. 

The night of the event, Bobby and I and a group of our 
friends arrived at the Armory in merry moods enhanced on the 
way over by some good smokables. At a break between sets, Rick 
Chapman went to the stage to announce his talk the next day. I took 
one look at him and decided not to waste my Sunday afternoon. 
"What could I learn from a guy who looked like a preppy?" I was 
impressed with his enormous mustache, but that wasn't enough to 
make up for the fact that he seemed too straight to know anything 
to help me on my path. So I didn't go to the talk the next day. 
When I heard later that Baba had given His Darshan to Chapel Hill 
through Rick's talk, I thought, Oh no. I missed out. 

Within two months, I packed a suitcase of clothes, a box 
of lp's, a few books, and my portable stereo, piled it all into my 
VW bug and left my marriage. I headed for New York. I had 
finally had enough. 

My time in New York was very dark as depression, con- 
fusion, fear and resentment prevailed, and I felt like life and 
hope were abandoning me. I tried to act like I was hip, happy 
and knew what I was doing when I moved in with a guy I'd 
only met twice. Marshall came to visit a couple of times, saying 



50 Finding God In North Carolina 

he 'just knew I'd be coming to Baba 'any day now', since my 
life was so desperate and I would have nowhere else to turn. I 
assured him I'd be fine and Baba wasn't my path. I appreciated 
his concern for me although I thought he was doing more of his 
'fanatical thing'. 

Thankfully, I didn't last long in New York, as through an 
impossibly painful series of events, in October, I found myself 
back in Chapel Hill, at the end of the very long rope on which Baba 
had allowed me to run. When a friend offered to take me to Myrtle 
Beach to the Center, I readily agreed. My friend and I headed out 
of Chapel Hill through Pittsboro and other tiny hamlets to down- 
town Fayetteville, where we passed a huge billboard showing a 
hooded man on a white horse, reared up on it hind quarters, with 
a cross thrust above his head with one hand and the other holding 
reins. Above the billboard, spelled out in large red letters, I read 
out loud, "Fayetteville Chapter Klu Klux Klan, Wednesdays, 7 pm." 
I thought, God, get me out of here. 

We wound our way through Clarkton, Whiteville, 
Chadbourne and Loris, and then drove on a stretch of wooded land 
between Myrtle Beach and Ocean Drive. We turned off Highway 
1 7 and went through a gate that read Briarcliffe Acres. The houses 
were nice, expensive looking and well kept. We drove to the 
Center on a gravel and coquina road which wound its way amidst 
tall pines, voluminous yucca plants, scrub oaks and large, spreading 
trees dripping with moss. We turned into a driveway and stopped. 
My friend said, "This is Kitty and Elizabeth's house. We check in 
here and get our gate key, sheets and towels. Come on." 

I rang the doorbell and it was answered by an old woman 
with snow white hair, penciled-in eyebrows, a bent spine and a 
warm smile. It was Elizabeth Patterson, the founder of the Center. 
She took my hand and said, "I'm so very glad that you've come." 
As I felt the warmth and smoothness of her hand, her soothing 
words washed over me. I thanked her and signed my name in 
the guest book. She said, "Just go and rest now. You look tired. 
Tomorrow I'll meet you at the Original Kitchen and show you 
around the Center." 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 5 1 

After leaving Elizabeth's, we drove up to a green wooden 
gate and I got out of the car, opened the gate's padlock, and then 
locked it again after my friend drove through. As I stood on 
the narrow coquina and sand road of the Center, I felt generous 
amounts of moss, pine needles and dry oak leave cushioning my 
feet. I also felt a sensation of energy rising from the earth, elicit- 
ing a headiness and lightness to support me as I walked the few 
steps back to the car. 

We arrived at a cluster of cabins, outbuildings and a shed- 
like structure I learned was the Original Kitchen. We put our food 
in a refrigerator and then I found my cabin, overlooking a lake. I 
put my suitcase on a rack at the foot of the bed and sat down in 
a low, cushioned chair. The simple rustic cabin smelled like my 
grandparents' attic, slightly musty, well used and well loved, with 
a hint of cedar and the smell of fresh ocean air. The walls and 
ceiling were shellacked pine panel while second hand furniture 
and a small patch of a rug adorned the interior. Photographs of 
Meher Baba, one young and one older, hung on the walls and on 
an out-of-style, white bedside table, was a simple lamp. Under the 
windows sat a three drawered white dresser. Outside was a small 
screened in porch overlooking the lake, with a couple of dark green 
raatan chairs. 

Beyond the porch, the cabin was surrounded by scrub 
brush and tall pine trees in front of a steep hill that fell off into 
a long lake which spread beyond sight on both sides. At the far 
side of the lake, I saw a stand of reeds, beyond which lay sand 
dunes covered with sea oats. Heavenly, I thought, as I began to 
put my things away. As I opened the dresser drawer, the aroma 
of a now absent sashet wafted up and into the room. I felt a dim 
suggestion of a time long gone when the air was sweet, and the 
love, abundant. 

I slept restlessly that night and my mind raced. It was so 
dark here, darker than any place I had ever been, I felt afraid of the 
night sounds and the unfamiliar surroundings. I got up the next day 
feeling tired, but I knew Elizabeth would soon appear and I had 
dozens of questions to ask her. 



52 Finding God In North Carolina 

I met my friend at the kitchen where we ate cereal and 
drank tea, mostly in silence. Elizabeth soon arrived and we went 
off in her car, driving through the 500 acres of the Center. Elizabeth 
explained when a cabin was built, how a drainage ditch helped 
clear swampy portions of the land, how she had found the barn in 
Conway, and how she had it moved and rebuilt under the beauti- 
ful oak trees. As we left the car and climbed the three steps to 
the barn door, she said, "This is where Baba met with all of us in 
1952, 1956 and 1958." He told us, "Of all the places I've rested 
my head, anywhere in the world, I love this place (the Center) the 
best because it was created for Me with so much love. I never leave 
here. My presence here will always remain." 

We stepped into the barn onto immaculate hardwood floor- 
ing. The walls were an irrepressible red cedar and the ceiling and 
cross beams were a soft blue color. A chandelier, made from an 
old wagon wheel, hung from the center cross beam and contained 
a huge circle of lightbulbs which had been turned on by Elizabeth 
at the entrance. The room felt alive to me, as if the walls them- 
selves were awake and welcoming us. We walked to the center of 
the sparsely furnished room which had about two dozen straight 
backed antique gold and chartreuse chairs lining the walls. A huge 
ancient looking library table stood on one side of the room and 
large dark wood chairs with leather seats were arranged next to an 
oversized fireplace with a redwood mantle on the other side. On 
either side of the mantle sat a thick, foot-high candle. After tak- 
ing in this incongruent, but somehow perfect scene, I looked up 
and saw a 3' x 4' color photo of Meher Baba sitting by the steps 
outside the barn. His head was turned slightly and the sun cast His 
hand in light. Such a graceful, beautiful hand and such a lovely 
form. I murmered to Elizabeth, "I've never seen anyone so beau- 
tiful in all my life." Just so beautiful. Tears began to fall, not for 
sadness or for despair, but for sheer beauty. A flood of tears came 
and I didn't know why. But somehow I loved this man more than 
I could comprehend. 

We stood gazing, me crying, my head on Elizabeth's shoul- 
der. I was melting inside, a frozen heart thawing warming, becoming 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 53 

alive after being dead, melting. Elizabeth said quietly, "You've found 
your home now, haven't you dear?" I don't know how long we stood 
there, but when I could finally dry my eyes, I knew I belonged to 
Meher Baba and He belonged to me. 

The 1969 Darshan 

On the morning of April 23, 1969, as the Indian sun was 
shining brightly, we arrived for Meher Baba's Darshan (which 
means "being in the company of the Master and receiving his 
blessings'). The flight attendant with cafe latte skin and a bright 
red sari announced our arrival in Bombay. We taxied up to a 
chain link fence at the end of the runway where the captain cut 
the engines and we rolled to a stop. Through the window, I saw 
no gates, no control tower, only the tarmac and a low building 
a few yards beyond the fence. The Air India hostess opened the 
cabin door, letting in the soupy humidity which carried with it the 
smells of cow dung, smoke, jasmine, spices, goats, dogs, people 
and diesel fumes. 

I disembarked along with the others on our charter flight. 
We passed an old woman squatting on the tarmac, a bound bun- 
dle of long twigs in her hand. She swept dust into the air and it 
clogged our nostrils and throats before falling to earth again. As we 
approached the steps leading to the terminal, a small but raucous 
group of Indians from the Bombay Baba group drew our atten- 
tion with shouts of "Jai Baba! Jai Baba! Avatar Meher Baba Kai 
Jai!" They waved excitedly, folded their hands in prayer style, and 
bowed to us. We returned the greeting, though less enthusiasti- 
cally, as we had traveled for nearly 48 hours from New York. 

In the year and a half since Baba had first touched my 
heart, I had left New York, went to Denver, stopped doing drugs, 
re-enrolled in college, learned of my brother's sudden death and 
got divorced. During the first six months of these changes, I was 
rarely able to sleep more than four hours a night, eating little, med- 
itating a lot and living in a state of shock. I felt out of place in the 
mainstream world, withdrawn and unable to connect with others. 



54 Finding God In North Carolina 

I was separated from my past and disconnected from the present. 
Inwardly I clung to Baba, talking to Him continuously. Kitty Davy 
and Elizabeth Patterson, who ran the Meher Spiritual Center in 
Myrtle Beach, were my anchors, my life preservers. Their gen- 
erosity, through talks on the phone and through letters, of loving 
guidance and friendship helped me to get up each morning. 

Meher Baba was in strict seclusion during this time (1968), 
doing His universal work to give all of creation a spiritual push and 
to uplift consciousness on all levels. We eagerly anticipated the 
end of this phase of His work and a long awaited invitation to India 
to see Him. Those of us new to Him and freshly out of drugs, felt a 
deep sense of urgency to get ready to meet God in human form! 

In the Fall, of 1968, the invitation finally came for Baba's 
lovers to come to India, for six days only, to be in His company 
and receive His blessings. He specified this was a program for His 
lovers only, old and new, but not for the general public. Then, on 
January 31, 1969, He died. We call it 'dropping the body'. We 
were very confused, as were some of the close ones in India, as to 
what to do about His invitation. They concluded that Baba knew 
what was to happen when He issued the invitation, and that the 
program should be held as planned. I too felt deep within me that 
I should honor His invitation even though He had left our physical 
presence. So here we were, a tired group of western disciples, ages 
19 to 100, who arrived for Baba's Darshan. We had come 12,000 
miles on a six day trip to honor the man who said He was God, 
and who had not spoken a word for 44 years. I had no expectations 
except to meet Baba's closest disciples, see His home and visit His 
tomb shrine. 

The airport building was old and rickety, with creaky wood 
floors, a ceiling fan and a lot of men in khaki uniforms telling us 
which line to stand in to show our passports. I eyed Kitty, then 78, 
as she entered the building in her orthopedic shoes and pillbox hat. 
She had been longing to return to India for seventeen years, fol- 
lowing the time, from 1937 to 1952, when she had lived with Baba 
there before coming to Myrtle Beach to help run his new Center. 
Initially her gait was awkward, evidently because of the long flight. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 55 

But her eyes glistened and her arthritic body grew straighter with 
each step. Every part of her seemed to proclaim, "I'm home at last. 
Thank you Baba." I was so elated that I walked up to Elizabeth and 
said, "Oh Kitty, I'm so excited!" And she, with her droll humor, 
quipped, "Yes, I believe you are!" 

Bombay proved to be a chaotic mix of beggars and maha- 
rajas, the ancient and the modern; filth and beauty. From the airport 
we drove through miles of slums, where we inhaled a nauseat- 
ing stench and saw makeshift huts and open sewer ditches. I was 
shocked to see children, dogs and goats scavenging through the 
same piles of garbage, all looking for food. The smell curdled the 
already stale taste in my mouth. 

We finally arrived at a Western style hotel on the beach, and 
the first thing I did when I got to my room, was to brush my teeth, 
absentmindedly using tap water. The results rumbled through me 
later. My room faced the Indian Ocean and from my window, I 
watched gentle waves at low tide lap onto the sand. I saw camels, 
Arabian-style tents and people walking by the water. 

We spent the day resting. Later in the day, as dusk was fall- 
ing and the sun was casting a golden glow, we gathered in the hotel 
lobby to return to the airport to catch a plane to Poona, our final 
destination. Our plane was a long-retired western prop plane with a 
dulled aluminum exterior. Inside, the seats had gray flannel seat cov- 
ers, grimy headrests and seatbelts that no longer worked. We were 
offered warm orange juice in paper cups but I declined. Fortunately 
the flight was a short 35 minutes. I held tight to the armrests as we 
pitched and heaved during our descent, before making a bumpy land- 
ing on what appeared to be an open field of wild grasses, parched 
from the summer sun. As the plane's wheels met earth, clouds of 
dust blew into the air. At sunset, the sky was golden. We arrived at 
a small hangar, more like a garage, open at both ends, with a cow 
dung floor and few wooden benches. No personnel appeared. So this 
is Poona, I thought, Summer-home of the God-Man. 

As we stepped out of the plane, we could feel the difference 
in climate between Bombay and Poona. Steamy Bombay gave way 
to the drier, cooler air of the Deccan Plateau. A rattley, dented bus 



56 Finding God In North Carolina 

took us to our hotels in town, where I was assigned to the Amir, a 
fresh, clean new hotel. My room had clean stucco walls and a small 
window. My roommate was Bea Muller of New Jersey who I had 
met on visits at the Center in Myrtle Beach. After supper in the hotel 
restaurant, I turned in, despite a hard, thick, unyielding mattress. 

The next morning, I was awakened before daylight by a 
hacking cough of a man outside my room who sounded like he was 
dying of some terrible disease. Another man joined in, hacking, 
snorting and gagging until I finally got up to see what was happen- 
ing. Bea, awake by then, said that in India people clean out their 
sinuses and throats before starting the day. I thought, If they would 
clean up the dust and fumes, they wouldn 't have to he so gross. I 
looked out the window and saw a man open the doors of cupboard 
built into the wall of the hotel next door, not more than ten feet 
away. Inside the space, I saw a sleeping mat, blanket, pillow and a 
uniform with a glittery sky blue turban and a gold trimmed fan in 
the front. I felt a shock jolt through me as I realized the cupboard 
must be where the man lived. 

Later that day, the main group of Westerners arrived, and 
the next morning we set out in buses to Gurusprasad, 'gift of the 
master', a palacial estate owned by the Maharoni of Baroda, a 
devotee of Meher Baba. The Maharoni gave Baba this residence 
during the summer months. We jostled along crowded streets filled 
with throngs of people on foot, bicycles, trucks, busses and rick- 
shaws, all sounding their horns and bells continuously. We turned 
into a gate and onto a long gravel driveway flanked by stucco 
walls and rose gardens in full bloom. At end of the driveway was 
Gurusprasad, which had a high ceilinged veranda, polished granite 
floors, thick pillars on three sides of the building, marble statues 
and columns adorning the entrance. 

As our bus approached the portico, I noticed a few men and 
women on the veranda. One woman waved at us. I thought with 
awe, This is God's house and these are His disciples. I imagined 
being back in time with Jesus and distinctly felt it was the same here, 
now. I climbed down from the bus and saw that the waving woman 
was Baba's sister Mani, who I recognized from photographs and 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 57 

home movies I had seen. I was delighted to meet this petite, lively 
Parsee woman who, with twinkling eyes and a huge smile, gave me 
a warm hug that made me feel like I was her old friend. 

We removed our shoes on the veranda and entered the spa- 
cious hall which had polished marble floors that felt deliciously 
cool and smooth under my feet. The room's only furnishings, at 
the far end of the hall, were a platform covered by a Persian carpet 
and an overstuffed chair with a simple teal slipcover on which sat 
a large photograph of Meher Baba, garlanded with fresh tuberose, 
jasmine and roses. Near the chair stood a microphone on a stand. 
Facing the platform,we took seats haphazardly on the floor, and 
near us sat several Parsee, Hindu and Muslim men, along with a 
lone Westerner, Francis Brabazon of Australia, a long-time resi- 
dent in India with Baba. On our other side sat Baba's closest Indian 
and Western women disciples, including Kitty and Elizabeth. 

As the clock struck nine, I tried to fathom the magnitude 
of the moment. Eruch Jessawalla, one of Baba's closest disciples, 
stood and announced, "It is nine o'clock and you have all kept 
your appointment with God." As the words spilled from his lips, 
everyone grew silent and I was steeped in a silence so deep, it 
made my ears ring. It's like thunder, I thought, and I felt brightly lit 
inside. I don't know how long I sat in the Source of love and light. 
Time no longer had any relevance. 

Gradually, I became aware a program had begun although 
I only felt shadows of movement and sound. After someone had 
spoken and sat down, Eruch said, "Now you will each have your 
opportunity to step forward and pay your respects to Beloved Baba 
and take His darshan." 

I knew from the movies of Baba I had seen that taking 
darshan meant bowing down at His feet. Although the custom is 
pervasive in the East, it is foreign to Westerners. I watched a man 
approach the chair where Baba's photograph sat and he knelt and 
placed his head on the platform in front of the chair. Then he stood, 
folded his hands, bowed and returned to his seat. My indignance 
suiprised me. "I am not going to go up and bow down to a chair," 
I declared to myself. 



58 Finding God In North Carolina 

One by one, people stepped forward, and as they left the 
empty chair, I saw grins, sobs, ecstactic expressions and light ema- 
nating from ordinary faces. Something powerful was happening 
that I did not understand and I thought that these moments were 
very intimate. Suddenly, I felt self conscious, not wanting people to 
watch me. But then I was on my feet, knowing it was my turn, as if 
someone had tapped me on the shoulder. As I stood, the people, the 
room and the world fell away, leaving only my Beloved and me. 

I was dimly aware of placing my head at His feet and a 
flood released inside of me. Here I am, Baba. Here I am again. It 
was a reunion with my oldest, closest, dearest friend. Eons melted 
away and time, as I knew it, was no more. As I felt His strong soft 
feet in my hands, I kissed them. I felt His form deep within me; 
and His love flowing to me and back to Him in a never ending 
exchange. This was what I had waited for, forever. 

Then, as if someone had again tapped me on the shoulder, 
I heard a voice say, "Ok now, time to move on," and I knew I must 
stand again. When I became aware of my surroundings, I was out- 
side on the veranda, having no idea how I had got there. Slowly, 
indiscernibly, the world returned to normal, though less brilliant 
and interesting. I had been touched by God and I floated on a sea 
of deep joy and oneness. 

On the fifth day of our stay in Poona, after a hurried meal 
of tea and toast at daybreak, all 230 of us boarded busses. We 
watched the sun rise as we got tossed about on a pothole-filled 
road to Ahmednagar, where we arrived four hours later. We visited 
the Trust compound and then, as a hot dusty wind blew in our bus 
windows, we drove to Meherazad. Finally we we went to Baba's 
tomb in Meherabad, where we arrived as the sun was high, harsh 
to the eyes and blazing to the skin. The sky was white with heat 
as we were ushered off the buses and into a line of people that led 
up an incline to the Tomb, where Baba's body had been laid to rest 
three months before. The line crawled, the sun beat down and my 
hat did little to protect me. 

After a seeming eternity, I stepped over the threshold of the 
tomb and into a small room with a polished floor, a domed ceiling 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 59 

and primitive-style murals which depicted all walks of humanity 
as they embraced Meher Baba. On either side of the crypt were 
raised areas of polished stone. A mound of dirt covered the body 
of the God-Man, and on the mound lay a simple cotton spread 
covered with garlands of tuberoses, marigolds, jasmine and roses 
- so many flowers. The stones cooled my feet and the air felt so 
fragrant that I thought I might die of its beauty. 

I sat down in a comer of the tomb, away from the others 
who were gathered on either side of the crypt. I felt happy, peace- 
ful and one hundred percent content, having traveled to the ends of 
the earth to find this feeling. There was no place on earth I would 
rather be - a feeling that was completely new to me. For years, no 
matter where I was or what I was doing, Vd wished I were some- 
one else or alone in my inner shelter. Gratitude bubbled up from 
within me as I felt a joyous thankfulness for a glimpse of what life 
could be. I wanted to stay there forever, but I heard one of the men 
call out, "Board the busses, time to depart, all board now, please." 

I emerged from the Samadhi in a daze, exhausted and weak, 
and the bright light hurt my eyes. As I took a few too-warm sips 
of water from my canteen, one of the volunteers reported that the 
temperature was 120 degrees in the shade. I felt ill, took off my 
hat, poured water into it, then plopped it back on my head. How- 
ever, it provided little relief on the long trip back to Poona. 

Elizabeth had asked my boyfriend Paul and me to sing on 
the last morning of the Darshan and we were both thrilled at invita- 
tion. Paul was a music major, a songwriter and a performer. While 
I had the same love of music, a decent voice and a longing to sing, 
I also had paralyzing panic attacks which had started at the begin- 
ning of high school. I would rather have jumped into a pit of rattle 
snakes than be on stage singing in public. Nevertheless, I began to 
sing with Paul as he wanted me to be his singing partner. Still, I 
was bound up in shyness and had difficulty making myself audible. 
Despite my misgivings, we had accepted Elizabeth's offer as I felt 
I should do it for Baba, as well as for Elizabeth, myself and Paul. 

The next morning at breakfast with Bea and Paul, I told 
Paul, "I hardly slept. I am so nervous." Bea gave me a compassionate 



60 Finding God In North Carolina 

hug and reminded me she would be right there in the front row. 
"And," she said, "Baba will love it because He loves you." After 
we ate, the doorman flagged a rickshaw for us. We climbed in and 
sped away in a cloud of exhaust. Even with all the jostling of the 
rickshaw, Paul saw that I was trembling and couldn't get a deep 
breath. I prayed, "Please Baba, help me calm down." "What are 
you so afraid of?" Paul asked innocently, if not sensitively. "Shut 
up Paul," I hissed. 

We arrived at Guruprasad and entered the large hall. Francis 
Brabazon was there early too, and eager to help us, showed us 
where to sit - up front with him on the floor near the microphone. 
He was scheduled to read some of his new work before we sang. 
Oh no! Upfront? The whole time? I longed to be invisible as I sat 
down between Francis and Paul. At least I thought I looked pretty 
in my new sheer white cotton punjabi. 

Eruch opened the program, and Francis followed him. I 
began to shake again, knowing we were next up after him. "Please, 
Baba help me," I said inwardly. I noticed that, as he read, Francis's 
toes were twitching rapidly, his trousers were fluttering as if his 
knees were shaking and his papers were quivering. When he sat 
down he whispered to me, "I get terrible stage fright, you know." 
And then I was on my feet. 

As I approached the mike, I felt everything in me relax, as 
if I was a lake without a ripple - deeply still, yet alive, alert and 
clear. The same sense of timelessness I had felt that first morning 
returned as I took a deep refreshing breath and looked out at 230 
smiling, waiting faces. Paul struck the first chords and then we 
were singing our sweet, simple love songs to God in perfect pitch, 
strong in breath, with deep feeling. We looked at each other, each 
seeing joy and quiet excitement in the other. We began our last 
song, Cradle Song to God, (with words written by Frances and set 
to music by Paul); "In the beginningless beginning, You arose and 
began a lovely singing..." Several women pulled out kleenex to 
dry their eyes dampened with love. Thankfulness welled up within 
me and as I sat down, I looked at Francis and smiled. His eyes too 
were glistening with love. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 6 1 

Mani said later that in hindsight the signs that Baba was about 
to leave the body were pretty clear. By the summer of 1968, His 
health had deteriorated and He explained it had no physical basis, 
but that it was due to His universal work. When He announced His 
intention to hold a Darshan in the Spring, the mandali expressed 
deep concern for his frailty and begged him to postpone it until He 
was stronger. Baba replied, "Do you think my lovers will mind if 
I give my darshan while reclining? They won't be able to touch 
me, but I'll be very strong by then." The meaning was lost on his 
disciples at the time. But God always keeps His word. 

Baba Flowing Throught My Veins 

In August of 1983, 1 made my third trip to India and stayed 
for four weeks. As there was a severe drought and the Pilgrim 
Center was not open, I stayed at Viloo's Villa. Those of us stay- 
ing there were a jolly, rowdy, fun-loving crowd and we, including 
Viloo herself, played lots of practical jokes. I still have a photo of 
her servants picking up a pilgrim in his chair and carrying him out 
the back door with Viloo shouting emphatically, "Rajoo! Chandra! 
Take this wretched lump of corruption and throw him out! He must 
go and stay at Meher Colony!" The entire dining room burst our 
sides with raucous laughter. 

Each Meherazad day was a new facet of an ever- 
brightening gem of Divine Love. I got to know Mehera, Baba's 
chief woman disciple, but moved past her feeling unworthy of 
being in her presence. With Cathy Haas, I did have the chance to 
sing to her. We women were also blessed to have tea with her and 
the other women mandali. Mehera would end these teas by speaking 
quietly to the large photo of her Beloved on the wall asking for 
the world to come to know of him, and asking all of us there to 
love Him more and more. As these moments were so intimate and 
touching, I shed tears regularly. 

At each Arti, Baba's Samadhi resounded with both music 
and the silent call of the heart. Tears were the outward sign of the 
depth of love Baba poured into me, and when I thought I was filled 



62 Finding God In North Carolina 

to overflowing, the women Mandali would come and a whole new 
depth would be plumbed. 

There was a lot of illness going around among the pilgrims 
and I was sick with something or other every few days. I had been 
careful to get my pre-travel injections and also took a once-a-week 
malaria pill. I assumed I was not at risk for anything dreadful, but 
the flu, a cold, a pain in my neck and shoulder, fever and low blood 
pressure all pulled me down temporarily. 

Toward the end of my stay, several of us, with Ralph 
Brown as our guide, arranged for a trip to Aurangabad and the 
Ajanta caves. The trip was long and bumpy, I had a sore throat 
and was feeling feverish. I wondered why I hadn't stayed behind 
to rest. In spite of my discomfort, I was thrilled to be at the caves 
(which I knew about from art history books), located in the sides 
of a horseshoe-like canyon surrounded by a tropical rain forest. 
As soon as I got out of the car, I was soaked in perspiration by the 
humidity. After a few minutes of trying to fight the mosquitoes, I 
surrendered to the experience, trying to forget the itchy welts that 
seemed to multiply exponentially. By the end of the day, I had doz- 
ens of these welts. That night we stayed at a posh hotel and even 
tried our hands at making nan in the hotel restaurant's clay ovens. 

As my pilgrimage was drawing to a close, I knew my last 
day at Meherazad would be emotional, especially at the end of 
Mehera's tea where I anticipated I would be blubbering. When the 
tea ended, Mehera stood and we awaited her beautiful immersion 
into the Presence of the Beloved. Instead, she turned and left the 
room! I actually burst out laughing. Baba played on me the last 
joke of my stay. Or so I thought. 

The journey home was exhausting, and on the final leg, 
from New York to Denver, I stretched out across three seats and 
slept. But I was cold, and had been for the whole return trip, so 
now I had on a long sleeve t-shirt, a jacket and a blanket. The chill 
did not subside, but I chalked it up to fatigue. 

At last I arrived home and allowed myself five days to get 
over jet lag before returning to my work in outpatient psychiatry at 
Denver Children's Hospital. On the morning of my first day back, 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 63 

still very tired, I woke up with a headache and was slow getting 
up and out of the house. I got through the morning at work, but 
by noon my head throbbed so much, I could barely hold it up, and 
I went home to bed. By late afternoon, head pounding, I felt as I 
were burning up. I called my doctor and made an appointment for 
the next afternoon. I don't know why I didn't just go to the ER. 

I burned the hours of the night away and by morning I 
knew I was the sickest I'd ever been. I found a friend to take me to 
the doctor's office. I could hardly stand up and she had to help me 
dress and walk me to the car. I brought my toothbrush with me as 
I knew I was too sick to return home. 

At the doctor's office, I lay freezing in an exam room for 
two hours, waiting for the doctor to appear. I called the nurse sev- 
eral times and she finally told me the doctor had an emergency, 
causing the delay. I said I was an emergency too. When the doctor 
finally arrived, she apologized, took a quick look at me and said, "I 
am putting you in the hospital. Your fever is almost 104 degrees." 

That night I had a spinal tap - not a fun experience. But I 
was too sick to care. As my white cell count was abnormally low, I 
was put in isolation for precaution. Nurses took my vital signs and 
replenished IV drips every couple of hours. I was unable to swal- 
low anything solid and the fever and chills continued for days. I 
did manage though to get a letter off to Dr. Goher explaining my 
symptoms and asking her what she thought about them. 

I lay listless in bed for days . It hurt to open my eyes as I had 
pain behind my eyeballs. I slept a lot and when awake, pain spread 
to muscles and joints throughout my body, and I felt too weak to 
move. After three days, my doctor called in infectious disease spe- 
cialists who were pretty sure I had dengue fever, a virus caused by 
mosquitoes. They presented my case at Grand Rounds, and decided 
I had Q fever, similar to dengue, but more like malaria. 

One night I was so cold I asked the nurse, who I later named 
Nurse Ratchet, to bring me one more blanket. She said, "If your 
fever is not below 103, I'm going to take away all your blankets." 
When she looked at the thermometer, it read 102.8, and I thought, 
Thank you, Baba. My heart sang. 



64 Finding God In North Carolina 

Finally I began to make a turn for the better and had less 
pain. But a new symptom, itching on the palms of hands and the 
bottoms of my feet, began. They treated it with benadryl, but the 
itching persisted. 

Throughout my illness there was a dramatic shift between 
my body and my spirit. Physically I was in constant pain and 
discomfort, but spiritually my heart was soaring and I was brim- 
ming over with Baba's love and bliss. A friend asked if I wanted 
a picture of Baba or some music and I said, "No. I really don't 
need anything." 

It was true. Baba's presence was immense and I felt Him 
coursing through my veins. He was within me, in every cell of my 
body and in the air I breathed. So while the doctors were trying to 
figure out how to help me, the Master Physician was taking care 
of every detail. 

Slowly my fever subsided, pain abated, itching stopped and 
my white cell count began to bounce back. On the last day in the 
hospital, I decided I wanted a chocolate milkshake as it was a fam- 
ily tradition that chocolate could cure whatever ailed you. It wasn't 
nearly as delicious as I had expected, but I was on the mend. I still 
had no diagnosis, although the doctors were pretty sure it was den- 
gue. The doctor told me that one strain of dengue could even cause 
death. It had never crossed my mind that I might die, and I was 
glad she hadn't shared that little tidbit until I was recovering. 

For the next month I was not well enough to return to work 
and spent endless hours resting. Full of love, I wrote letters to 
Mehera, Mani, Eruch and some of my friends, pouring out my 
heart. I was so full I cried whenever I began to write. 

I received a bulky envelope from Mehera and inside was a 
small plastic bottle of water labeled 'precious prasad water use', 
with instructions to drink every drop, taking Baba's name. I did so, 
and as the water entered my mouth, I felt an indescribable sensa- 
tion as if I was drinking light, drinking Baba. More love permeated 
my body, mind and soul and I was in bliss. 

I noticed Baba's signature in all kinds of little things. I 
breathed in the most exquisite fragrance from a plant that had been 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 65 

given to me in the hospital. Someone sent me a balloon with a big 
red heart that said, 'I love you'. It was left in the living room but 
twice the balloon magically appeared in my bedroom. I thought. 
Now wait a minute, this isn't happening. It appeared as if paying 
me a visit! If you don't believe it, I don't blame you. But there it 
was. Baba, Baba. I later figured out the air current form the furnace 
had gently blown it in to me. I still prefer, however, to feel that 
Beloved Baba was delivering me a valentine. 

After a month at home, I returned to work. Initially, I was 
too tired to stay the whole day, but after a couple of weeks, I could 
stay full time. Then, suddenly, I was so full of energy I couldn't 
contain myself. I was elated and knew no bounds. But being at 
work felt mundane, unimportant and uninteresting. I wrote to 
Eruch to say I was losing my spiritual balance, that I didn't want to 
work, see friends or do anything, but be in Beloved Baba's Ocean 
of Love. It occurred to me later that I was asking Baba to bring me 
back down to earth. 

One day I got a call from the Center of Disease Control in 
Puerto Rico and they confirmed I had had dengue fever. They also 
said there had been an outbreak in Aurangabad and Ajanta. 

Gradually, I came out of the Ocean and planted my feet on 
shore. Baba wanted me to function in the world. But the essence 
of those months of recovery took firm root in me and slowly con- 
tinues to mature. There is nothing but Beloved Baba. All else is 
illusion and the only thing that matters is loving Him. 

Winnie lived in Chapel Hill for many years, and now lives 
in Asheville. 

Dorothy Cassidy 

In May, 1968, 1 was at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. 
I'd been searching for something. Flying saucers were one of my 
interests,but some of the stories that were coming out were obviously 
fiction. So I decided not to be interested in them. I was also going 
to Edgar Cayce meetings at Vicki Warner's house with Vicki always 



66 Finding God In North Carolina 

coming to take me there. In May, 1968, the school was closed and I 
wasn't going home, for safety reasons: I had a violent stepmother. I 
saw the Universal Message posted on a bulletin board, took it down, 
read it and then put it back up. There was Kitty Davy's address on it. 

I thought it might be interesting to have someone talk about 
Meher Baba at one of my Wesley Foundation meetings. I had 
recently changed from a Holiness Church to the Methodist Church. 
So I wrote to Kitty and asked her to recommend a speaker for our 
Wesley Foundation group and to recommend a reading list. She 
recommended a couple of books and I chose the Discourses and 
sent off for them. At that time, I decided not to go home for the 
summer due to the problems with my violent stepmother. I decided 
to go to UNC Chapel Hill for the summer as I was bored with UNC 
Greensboro, all those girls, and I thought I would be interested in 
meeting some guys. I had a four year scholarship and could use part 
it to go to summer school. Back in those days, the Baba Reading 
Room was there on Franklin Street. It was upstairs. At that time, I 
was a bit more agile walking with crutches and long leg braces due 
to polio in infancy; nevertheless those steps were tricky. I had run 
into some Baba people who told me about the Reading Room. 

That summer I had a birthday and a friend gave me a book 
called Encounters with Silence. Soon afterwards, I went up to the 
Reading Room with a conservative Catholic girlfriend of mine 
who was visiting. She laughed at the guy, Phil Julian, who was 
in the Reading Room as he had long hair and a weird look in his 
eyes. She thought that was the funniest thing she had ever seen. I 
took some literature back to my dorm from the Reading Room and 
soon realized who Baba was claiming to be. Even though I had 
been reading the Discourses, I had not understood that Baba was 
claiming to be the Christ. However, while reading them I had felt 
a certain release from His words. It was profound. 

After reading the literature, I went to a Monday night meet- 
ing at the Reading Room and sat across from Phil Julian. I asked 
him, "Does Baba claim to be the same one who was Jesus Christ?" 
When he said, "Yes," I felt like falling through the floor. I thought, 
That's all we need is another charlatan. He looked at me and said, 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 67 

"I'm going to the Meher Spiritual Center this weekend. Would you 
like to come?" Silly goose. I inquired, "Do girls stay there?" He 
said, "Yes." I had to think about all this. As I carefully climbed down 
the stairs with Phil there to hold the rickety banister, a thought then 
occurred to me: Dorothy, for years you have prayed: God, if you 
exist, please let me know. I thought too, If I am really sincere about 
wanting to know if God exists, I will take a chance. My daddy gam- 
bled with money. It is for me to gamble on God. So I decided to go. 

Phil had to write to Kitty to get permission and he got it. 
Then on a Saturday morning, August 17, 1968, I got in a car with 
three guys I didn't know. One was Phil Julian. One was his brother 
and I can't remember who the other guy was. We drove to Myrtle 
Beach's Meher Spiritual Center. At the Center, I met Kitty and she 
explained to me about the different paths to God and the shortest one 
was through the Avatar. That felt really nice. I spent the night in the 
Lantern cabin. I remember waking up the next day with this incred- 
ible feeling of joy. It was absolute, utter joy. I was basically hooked. 

I wanted to come back to the Center and had to get some 
money to do so. I had to get the money from my daddy. I told him 
there was an inter-religious retreat and I needed the money to go 
there. Finally, he agreed to give me the money. Meanwhile, I had 
a dream in which I saw a closed door and a voice said, "My guests 
come in the front door." I knew that meant I had to be upfront with 
my daddy. I thought, / won 't be able to get any money to go to 
the Center now. My daddy was a suspicious type. But I told him 
Meher Baba claimed to be Jesus and he didn't say a word and he 
gave me the money. So the next weekend I came back to the Cen- 
ter. Needless to say, afterwards, Daddy never gave me any peace 
about this "Ali Baba" as he called Baba. 

When I came from the Center, I returned to Greensboro and 
felt very lonely as I was the only Baba person there. I felt so lonely! 
Then I found out that John Gunn was coming to Greensboro once a 
week to do some advising on computers. It was so nice to see him 
and talk about Baba. We would meet for lunch. It was beautiful. 

Finally I met this woman named Raye Underwood, Bob's 
mother. She met me and told Bob about me. Bob called one day and 



68 Finding God In North Carolina 

invited me to go the Marine Corps Ball. He was in the Reserves. 
After that, Bob and I used to go to the Center about once a month. I 
also started a little Baba group at UNC Greensboro. Practically no 
one ever came but Bob and I, and we fought like cats and dogs. It 
was an interesting time. Well, we did have Henry Kashouty come 
give a talk and that was very well attended. 

What was really interesting was the time when Baba 
dropped His body. Bob had an old white Dodge and he had six 
guys and myself crammed in that car. We went to the Center the 
weekend Baba dropped His body. We didn't yet know about it. 
On the way, we were acting silly and crazy by making all sorts of 
weird sounds. When we got there, Kitty looked rather drawn and 
she told us that Baba had dropped His body. She also told us that 
Elizabeth had had an experience where a voice told her, "I know 
my Savior liveth!" I was there for about two or three days and 
I was really stricken. I remember saying a prayer: "You need to 
show me a sign to hold onto you." I slept that night in the Green 
Cottage and I woke in the middle of the night and heard a voice 
say, "Truth is within." 

During that weekend I think I crashed and fell three times. 
One of them was in front of Lynn and Phyllis Ott. I also remember 
there was a meeting in the Dilruba Library. Elizabeth Patterson (I 
think) said that Begin the Beguine was originally meant to be a 
prayer. That stuck in my craw. Don't ask me why. 

That Monday, back in Greensboro, I went to the school 
library to look for a recording of Begin the Beguine, but I couldn't 
find it. I did read a little bit about Cole Porter and I had an intuitive 
feeling that he never would have written a song that was meant to 
be a prayer, even though he hung out with religious types some. 
That night, two old ladies came to the Baba meeting. I told them 
that Baba had dropped His body. I also mentioned my interest in 
Begin the Beguine and one of the ladies sat up and said, "Cole 
Porter didn't write that song. It was a friend of Cole Porter's who 
was a divinity student." That was the sign I needed to just keep on 
going. My daddy gambled with money and it was for me to gamble 
on God. I renewed my bet. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 69 

Twelve years later, I was making my first trip to India and 
was sitting in Mandali Hall. I found out then that Marshall Hay, Phil 
Julian and Phil's brother were the ones who had put up the Universal 
Message on the bulletin board at UNC Greensboro in May of 1 968. 

Dorothy was born in Morganton and lived in Charlotte as a 
child. She now lives in Myrtle Beach. 



Marc Flayton 

In October of 1973, I sold my stereo for 95 dollars and headed 
down to the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach on a bus. On 
the trip, I kept seeing joy in the eyes of people around me so I kept 
going. The Center was beautiful and mystical and felt like the Gar- 
den of Eden. 

One night a nice girl invited me to her house. I thought, Oh 
no, it's near elevenl This was the time everyone was supposed to 
be in their cabins. I ran to the Center's gate on Highway 17, but 
guess what?! The bulb in my flashlight was dead. I was scared to 
walk that path from the Gateway into the Center in darkness with 
a million animal noises!, Well I was beyond frightened, but I had 
to get back. So I said to Baba, "If you get me back alive, I will be 
with you forever and ever." Well, something hit me and I lay in the 
grass in bliss for a long time. 

When I eventually got back to the Original Kitchen, some- 
one looked me in the eyes and said,"There. Baba's got him now." 

Marc lives in Chapel Hill. 



Leela Graber 

In 1 986, when I was twenty five years old, I moved to Marin County, 
California from Lake Tahoe and was living in with a family for the 
purpose of being a companion to a woman named Elspeth who 



70 Finding God In North Carolina 

had a traumatic brain injury. Elspeth was enrolled in a program for 
disabled people at the College of Marin and I would take her there 
three days a week where I made some friends. 

One of my friends was a nice guy named John Sides and he 
was a very spiritual kind of person. I knew nothing then about any 
of that. Back then I was just having fun as my life revolved around 
going to GRATEFUL DEAD shows. I was a genuine 'dead-head'. 
John was into Ramana Maharshi at the time. He would often quote 
his teachings and discuss other spiritual masters. 

One day over lunch, I told John about something that was 
really bothering me and he replied by telling me about this master 
named Meher Baba who used to tell his followers, "Don't Worry Be 
Happy." Well, I felt like those were the most profound four words 
that I had ever heard! There was an instant shift in my perception! 
Don't worry be happy! Wow, no problem! I can do that. Suddenly 
I had some hope in the days that followed for about two weeks. 
After that, whenever I saw John at the college, I would ask him 
to tell me the name of the spiritual master because I just could not 
remember. Every day he would say, "Meher Baba, Meher Baba, 
Meher Baba." 

Soon after, I went back to Lake Tahoe to reconnect with my 
friends there. Generally, when I went back to the Lake, my visits 
revolved around the party scene, but on this particular weekend it 
was completely different. I had no desire to party. I visited with 
some different people and my best friend, Margie, wanted me to 
go into this new spiritual bookstore. I kept declining. Repeatedly I 
told her, "I have no interest in spirituality." Finally, early Saturday 
evening, she got me into the store. Nothing was popping out at me 
as I walked around the isles and then all of a sudden, I remem- 
bered the name, 'Meher Baba'. I asked the man in the bookstore, 
"Do you have any books on Meher Baba?" He said, "Do I have 
books on Meher Baba?!" He had a beautiful selection of Baba 
books. 

Then he said, "I can do better than books on Meher Baba. 
I can get you people that will tell you about Meher Baba." I was 
thinking, I don 't know if I want to go that far. But I kept going with 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 7 1 

it, so I gave the man in the bookstore my name and number and he 
said, "I am going to call you at 8 o'clock when I get off work and I 
am going to give you their names and number." I went back to my 
best friend's place where I was staying and waited for his call. He 
called me exactly at 8 pm and gave me the names Michael Poirson 
and Leslie Baer. 

Just after I hung up the phone, I began dialing their number 
and the whole time I was thinking, What in the heck am I doing? 
I'm calling complete strangers about Meher Baba!" But my fin- 
gers kept dialing and Michael answered the phone. I introduced 
myself and told him I had met someone at the store and I was inter- 
ested in hearing about Meher Baba. Soon after, Leslie joined the 
conversation. They were tickled pink that I wanted to know about 
Meher Baba, so we agreed to meet the next day in Squaw Valley. 

The next morning I met Michael and Leslie in Squaw Valley 
in this little gourmet shop. They brought all these posters that they 
made of Baba. They also had books. Upon meeting this dynamic 
duo, they introduced me to all these stuffed monkeys that they 
traveled with. The monkeys said that they loved Baba very much. 
Michael and Leslie were really a gregarious couple always talking 
with their monkeys about Baba and such. I recognized the posters 
because when I lived in Tahoe previously I saw Michael putting 
up these posters on telephone poles, but I never thought about the 
man whose face was on the posters. I remembered that Michael 
had picked me up hitchhiking one time when I was living in Tahoe, 
so there was a previous connection before coming together on that 
fateful day that he and Leslie told me about Baba. 

They put Love Personified in front of me, and as they were 
talking about it, I was turning the pages. Then they got deeper and 
deeper about who Meher Baba was. 

I turned to the series of pictures where Baba was sitting in a 
tree. I suddenly recognized Meher Baba and at that point, Michael 
said, "Meher Baba is the Christ." In a split second I heard Baba say 
inwardly, "I am your Father. I have been with you all this time." 
And I knew it was true. It was exactly like when your parent comes 
to wake you up in the morning from your dreams. At this point I 



72 Finding God In North Carolina 

became so blissed out and when I looked up, Michael and Leslie 
had tears of bliss in their eyes. We were just teary-eyed with bliss 
and laughter. 

Blissed out, I drove back (I think Baba must have driven 
the car for me), to Margie's place and when she came down the 
stairs and I told her, "I found the Christ!" She was wearing this red 
sweater dress and she was sick as a dog that day. Margie got very 
angry and tried to set me straight from her Christian perspective 
of who the Christ was and that there was no other than Jesus. She 
really played the devil's advocate, which was befitting in that short 
red sweater dress. That moment was the beginning of a change in 
our relationship. But I was fortunate because I had driven up there 
that weekend with a very dear friend of mine by the name of Neal 
Harris. He was in complete support that I had found my God. 

Neal drove me back to the Bay area cheering me on the 
whole way. In that moment that I came to Baba, my life did a 1 80 
degree turn, and my life began to change immediately. The next 
week when I saw John Sides, he became absolutely mortified that 
after one weekend away, I had fallen in love with Meher Baba. He 
blamed himself for what happened. 

Within a short time, I thought to look up some Baba lov- 
ers. I found the Berkeley Baba Group listed in the phone book 
and drove over to Albany to attend a meeting. The night I went, 
Dick Anthony was speaking about a book he had just written with 
Ken Wilber called Spiritual Choices. After I listened for a while, 
I became very disappointed because I didn't understand much of 
what was being said. I thought, / can 't be into Baba because you 
have to be an intellectual. 

I had walked into this meeting and had been noticed, but 
no one knew who I was. After the talk I was going to get up and 
just leave, but before I got to do that, Dick Anthony came over 
to sit with me. He was so warm and genuine. And then others 
joined us asking where I had come from and how I heard about 
Baba. I told them my story. I am pretty sure it was evident that 
I was on my honeymoon with Baba by the way some of these 
people reacted towards me. They knew the look. I realized in 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 73 

that moment that these were my new brothers and sisters. This 
was my tribe. I had found my people. This was in March of 
1987. I was so enamored with Baba on a daily basis for several 
months, I could barely function at times and came very close to 
getting fired from my job. 

In July, I made another trip up to my old stomping grounds 
on my birthday. A dear friend and previous employer from the 
Tahoe area was going to give me a little party. She said, "You can 
invite four people." She had children and didn't want to throw me 
a 'party' party. So I invited Michael and Leslie, the Baba lovers, 
and my best friend, Margie, who I was having difficulties with 
since coming to Baba. Margie did not listen and brought several 
of our friends into the house and that was not acceptable to the 
woman who was giving me the birthday party. 

The hostess said, "I'm sorry but you all have to leave." It was 
very humiliating for everybody. This was the tribe I went to Dead 
shows with and who I had so very much fun with, before coming to 
Baba. Of course Margie who had invited the extra people was very 
angry with me and the hostess. After a moment I got up and hugged 
several of my friends goodbye and watched each one of them walk 
out the door one-by-one. And that was goodbye to my old life. 

The relationship with my best friend came to an impasse 
for the next three or four years. We lost touch until my 30th birth- 
day (July 1991) when Margie called me. We spoke about what had 
transpired to split us apart and she apologized to me. That day we 
rekindled our connection, as we are friends from across time, I 
believe. We have stayed connected ever since. 

The next big event regarding Baba was going to India. I had 
heard Mehera was getting older. I knew that I needed to get to India 
as soon as I could. I got the money together and went to India in 
October 1987. At that time, I met my husband who I didn't really 
connect with until his sister Ellen arrived at the Pilgrim Center sev- 
eral days into the trip. He stayed close to her because her father 
didn't know she had come to India, and was keeping an eye on her 
to make sure nothing happened to her. It was through David's sister 
that I linked up with David and we ended up falling in love. 



74 Finding God In North Carolina 

On my way back to San Francisco, I knew my whole life was 
going to change. I was just trying to hang on to everything because 
I knew David was going to come and take me away from California, 
the home of my heart. I just knew that. After returning home, I got 
blasted by many Baba lovers who said, "You don't go to India to 
meet the man you are going to marry. That doesn't work out." The 
man I had been dating was a Sikh and he yelled at me, "Don't you 
understand?! I met my first wife in India on a pilgrimage. You get 
high and you think you're in love, but you are really in love with 
God!" So I got a lot of negative receptions from many people on 
this matter but, within a few months David moved from Charleston, 
South Carolina, to be with me in California. We got married within 
two years. One year after our marriage, when our baby turned one, 
we moved from San Carlos, California to Chapel Hill. 

One addendum to my story is a huge confirmation of my path 
with Baba and meeting David. In 1995, the year before Mani died, 
when I was five months pregnant with my son Drew, David and I went 
to India. Every time Mani saw me she was over-the-top happy. It was 
great, but it didn't make any sense. Every time she saw me she would 
sigh and would make a motion of crossing her arms across her heart. 

Finally, two weeks into the trip, I stopped her and asked her 
to tell me the story that she had promised to tell me early on that 
trip. She began to tell me about how seeing me reminded her of 
how much her brother (Baba) loved her by answering her prayers. 
Mani explained that before I came to India for the first time, she 
had been praying to Baba for about three nights to bring David a 
wife. She continued to tell me how the women mandali knew that 
David and his first wife had split up, and that some of the women 
were concerned that David should have a wife to take care of him. 
This struck me as odd because David has a strong sense of inde- 
pendence and has always been one pointed in seeking Baba. 

Mani proceeded to tell me that she was not one of the man- 
dali you came to talk about your relationships. She really wanted 
no part of that. She went on to mention some of the other mandali 
who pilgrims could talk to about their relationships. Mani then 
said, "But in this particular case, for three nights in a row, just 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 75 

before I went to bed, I prayed to Baba to bring David a wife.'' A 
few months later I arrived in India and met and fell in love with 
David. I will always have that gift from Baba to remember in this 
lifetime. That's my story. That is how I came to Baba. 

Leela lived in Chapel Hill from 1990 to 1993. She now 
lives with her family in Charleston, South Carolina. 



Lisa Gilland 

I went to summer school at the University of North Carolina dur- 
ing the summer of 1966. I had a very good friend, Bill Gamble, 
who was in a philosophy class with me. He was sort of a beatnik, 
and I was just beginning to get into that sort of thing, and I thought, 
Oh, he must have some answers. So we used to sit around and talk 
about God and what He could be and go back and forth about that. 
I pretty much decided by the end of the summer that if there was a 
God, then he really couldn't be much good, because there was so 
much struggle in the world, and so much fear and evil. 

I came back to Chapel Hill once during the middle of the 
regular school year, and happened to pass Bill on the street. He 
said, "I just want to tell you that it's not like we thought! It's different 
- God is different." He said that he was interested in Buddhism. I 
didn't know what he was talking about exactly, but I remembered 
what he said. We talked so much about it that I figured he was seri- 
ous and must know something. 

Several months later, having become a full-blown hippie, 
and having lived in DC for awhile, I came back to town. I was tak- 
ing drugs and getting really miserable. When I saw Bill again, he 
said, "Come over and visit me." He lived at 322 Rosemary Street, 
which was where all the hippies, the weird people lived. This was 
just after Rick Chapman (Baba's emissary) had come to town and 
everyone had flushed their dope down the toilet. 

But I had missed Rick's talk. I went to Bill's house and saw 
a picture of Baba and His Univeral Message over Bill's desk. He 



76 Finding God In North Carolina 

pointed to the picture and said, "That's God." I thought, Bill has 
really lost it. Then a man named Ray Cass came into the room. He 
was a tall man with arms about ten yards wide, which he waved as 
he exclaimed, "You don't know about Baba?! She doesn't know 
about Baba?!" Then Ray, and Bill and Richard Gatling, all big 
rough-looking men said, "Oh we're going down to the Baba Cen- 
ter tomorrow and you can come with us." I said, "Oh, uh, I don't 
really want to go to the Baba Center." But I was from Charleston, 
South Carolina and I had to go home before summer school started, 
so I said, "I will ride with you all as far as the Baba Center, then I 
will catch a bus to Charleston." 

So the next day I piled into a car with all these men. I was 
dressed in an old black t-shirt and jeans and was definitely not 
a fashion plate. Back then there was no Gateway and you drove 
to Kitty's house when you arrived at the Center. When we pulled 
up, Kitty came bustling out and said, "Oh you brought a lovely 
girl with you!" I thought, Oh that's kind of nice. I liked her and 
felt welcomed even though I didn't know what I was doing there. 
We went onto to the Center and into the Original Kitchen where 
we saw Marshall Hay who was going through an intense struggle 
with lust at that time. He was sitting in the kitchen and looked up 
and saw me wearing my old jeans and old black t-shirt, and he just 
groaned. Not only was he groaning over the "lovely girl" who had 
just walked in, but I was wearing his black t-shirt. All I could think 
was, Oh dear, I'm really in the wrong place. I couldn't get a bus 
until the next day and I really didn't want to stay on the Center. I 
thought it was all very strange and I had no interest in Baba at all. 

That night there was a film of Baba in the Meeting Place. 
I saw a film of Baba washing the feet of the lepers and it was just 
awful. Baba was not really washing their feet — he was just sort of 
pouring water over their feet and shoving them along as if to say, 
Alright. Nextl I thought, This guy doesn't even care about these 
people. He 's not even touching them. He 's just pushing them along. 
I couldn't relate to it at all. I went back to the Original Kitchen 
where I saw Jane Haynes. Before long, she was doing her dramatic 
number on me, and I just didn't go for it at all. I said, "Look. I just 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 

want to be honest with you. I am not interested in Meher Baba. I 
just came so I could get a ride to Charleston and I am leaving in the 
morning." She completely ignored what I said and said, "Well, you 
go to bed and have sweet dreams about Baba." I thought, Aaugh. 
This is terrible! These people ore terriblel 

The next day Marshall Hay took me to the bus station and I 
went to Charleston thinking I had got out just in time. For the rest 
of the summer, I was in Chapel Hill and having a really dreadful 
time - it was probably the worst time of my whole life. I continued 
to take drugs. But I would also go to Baba meetings because most 
of my friends were Baba people. I remember the meeting I went 
to was at John and Barbara Gunn's house in Victory Village, and 
I thought everyone was so strange. But I kept going. Also, I was 
involved in a relationship that was just disastrous and completely 
did me in. During all these terrible times, I would occasionally go 
the Baba Center. I wasn't going for Baba. I just went because it 
was a nice place to go. 

At the end of the summer 1967, my disastrous relationship 
ended and I moved to New York. I began living with a man who 
took care of me. I was completely wrecked, couldn't think straight 
and was emotionally devastated. I really wanted to be taken care 
of and he did just that. After awhile, we moved to Princeton, New 
Jersey and I would go into New York to take Indian dance classes. 
One snowy, beautiful evening, I was driving back from the train 
station and thought, / should think about Baba. Then I wondered, 
Where did that thought comefromV. I didn't love Baba and the idea 
of him seemed to pop into my mind from nowhere. But I decided, 
Okay. I'll think about Baba. I thought about him and nothing hap- 
pened. It didn't stir my heart. I just did it mechanically. And from 
time to time I would get little reminders that I should think about 
Baba. At this point I had not taken drugs for awhile because I had 
decided it really was not good for me. I began to calm down and 
get more centered. 

After Christinas, I found out that my father had become 
very ill. I didn't know that he was an alcoholic but my mother told 
me that he had really decompensated and had had a bad experience 



78 Finding God In North Carolina 

in a mental institution. I went down to Charleston to see him and 
my mother. I was dreading it because I'd always had a difficult 
relationship with him and because finding out about his alcoholism 
was very hard even though it explained a lot of things I had never 
understood. So I went and visited with my parents and it was very 
strange being there. 

I didn't stay long and for some reason I thought, Well I'm 
really close to the Babo Center. I will call and see if any of my 
friends from Chapel Hill are there. I called Kitty and she said, "Oh, 
how wonderful that you called! It's Baba's birthday and all your 
friends from Chapel Hill are here!" I thought, Oh, wonderful. I was 
so glad to be getting out of Charleston and getting away from that 
awful situation I couldn't do anything about. I immediately got on 
a bus to Myrtle Beach. 

I was really glad to be at the Center. Dick Anthony was 
there, as were all my old friends. They were all delighted to see 
me and I was delighted to see them. It was beginning to feel like 
a feast of love, but I was still not a Baba lover, not at all. The first 
night I was there, Henry Kashouty gave a talk in the library. If 
you've been to one of Henry's talks, you know he's intense and 
everyone listens intensely. The room was just full of intensity! I 
was sitting on the sidelines thinking, I'm really out of it. They're 
really into this thing and I'm not. I felt lonely and wished I could 
feel what everyone else was so obviously moved by. 

I went back to my cabin when the talk was over and went 
to bed. Then, I cannot describe it any other way - it was as though 
a pink bomb was going off inside my chest. It kept flooding me 
with wonderful warmth and feelings of love and I know it was 
Baba. I stayed up all night just being swept away by these feelings. 
I didn't know what had happened to me, but the next day I went to 
the library again where there was a tape being played of Darwin 
Shaw's talk to the Sufis about how he came to Baba. It was really 
wonderful. Darwin was very emotional in that talk which was very 
much about how all the obstacles within him had to be burned and 
cleared away by Baba, and about how he began to love Baba and 
feel an intense and ancient connection with Him. I felt every word 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 79 

that Darwin said in the bottom of my heart. I sat there weeping, 
and that was it. This time I had not got out in time. 

I rode back to Chapel Hill with Marshall and other friends. 
Marshall had received a telegraph from Baba sending greetings to 
all of us on His birthday. So there was something from Baba in the 
car and it was just wonderful. As we drove back through the fields 
of mud and the swamps, I thought, I could just open the door right 
now and fall out and die with a big smile on my face. This is it. I've 
got it made. I would be happy forever. Also I remember flying back 
to New York from Chapel Hill thinking that if any of the engines 
would fail, surely I could just fly the plane on to New York, because 
I was so happy. I thought, Oh, all I have to do is go live by myself 
and if I just think Baba 's name, I'll be in bliss. I've got it made. That 
honeymoon with Baba lasted about two weeks which, as a friend 
pointed out to me, was more many people experience in a lifetime. 

It is now 2006, twenty one years after writing this story, 
and I just reread it for the first time. My life with Baba has been, 
predictably, nothing like that blissful honeymoon. It has been more 
about 'thinking of Baba', saying the prayers every day (as Arnavaz 
once instructed me to do) and just carrying on. There have been 
stretches of many years in which I thought I probably wasn't a 
Baba lover anymore. I carried on saying my prayers and eventu- 
ally a different relationship with Baba has emerged. I would call 
it friendly and emotionally sober rather than passionate - which 
is fine with me for now. I would like it if a different sort of love 
would emerge and I imagine that it will. 

Lisa lived in Chapel Hill in the 1960's and in Durham in 
the 1970's and 1980's. She now resides in England. 



John Gunn 

I came to Baba in an unusual way, through Krishna and Jesus. 
I was not an extremely devout child, but I spent a tremendous 
amount of time in church and I was moved by accounts of Jesus' 



80 Finding God In North Carolina 

suffering. I was a paid Episcopal choir boy for around four years 
(making the buying-power equivalent of about $40/month!). 
Then I went off to an all male four year private boarding school 
that had mandatory church services four nights a week as well as 
Sundays. I ended up in the choir and glee club, not because of 
spiritual longing, but because it was the only chance in a nine- 
month school year to meet girls - we gave eight concerts a year 
at all-girl boarding schools. 

The more time I spent in church, the more sensitized I 
became to the way God is represented in Christianity. It became a 
near obsession for me. Our headmaster would invite distinguished 
people as guest ministers, people like the chairman of the theology 
school of Yale. I'd say to myself, "Let's see if this guy has a clue 
about God." The problem for me dated back to age 5 when my 
mom played organ for a church and I had to sit in Sunday school 
while she performed her duty. One activity that stuck with me was 
coloring a picture in which there are shepherds and sheep, and 
there is God himself, a bearded wise-looking man looking down 
from the sky where you would expect to see the sun. 

Christianity is full of these dumbed-down images: 
Heaven is a place and it's 'up there', Hell is a place and it's 
'down below', the devil is a mean-looking man with red skin 
and a tail, and God is also a man, but infinitely nice. I would 
listen to the sermons of these exalted scholars and find them 
saying things I found satisfying like, "God is infinite love." But 
then after a few minutes of this exalted modern theology they 
would say something like, "God wouldn't want you to behave 
like that," and I'd know that they also could not escape from 
these images of God as a kind of Santa Claus: "He knows when 
you've been bad and good...", etc. 

My boarding school had an optional tutorial program for 
seniors in which you'd link up with a professor, pursue a course 
of study agreed upon by the two of you, meet from time to time, 
and produce a paper. Acting like a grad student, I guess, to impress 
admissions officers. I went to the minister of the school and asked 
for all his books on non-Christian religions. It was supposed to be 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 



81 



my tutorial, but I never met with him. I just devoured the books, 
among them, Three Ways of Thought in Ancient China by Arthur 
Waley; two books about Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki and Alan 
Watts, four or five other books I found rather dry, and the Bhagavad 
Gita. I loved that book so much I read it three times. I wrote my 
tutorial paper about Eastern and Western thought, all 45 voluntary 
pages of it, and I really fell in love in a sense with Krishna. I dis- 
tinctly remember repeatedly wishing I had been alive in Krishna's 
time, little knowing that I was! 










Baba as Krishna 1938, Photo courtesy of Wendy 
Haynes Connor, c/o the Elizabeth Patterson Collection. 



82 Finding God In North Carolina 

Now fast forward six years. I went for one year to UNC 
Chapel Hill. I loved the place so much I did not bother applying 
anywhere else. It's, 'Chapel Hill or nothing,' making me a ren- 
egade in a family of Harvard men. I dropped out of UNC, moved 
to New York, went to work, got married, moved back to Chapel 
Hill, had 2 kids and took lots of drugs, which I found increas- 
ingly disappointing as an avenue for spiritual discovery, and then... 
My wife, Barbara, saw a Baba card around March of 1967. Then, 
when Rick Chapman announced his 3 pm talk about Meher Baba 
in Chapel Hill in May 1967, we were determined to go. But no 
babysitter could be found to try to manage our lovable, but ill- 
disciplined kids. I was planning to go and report the information 
back to Barbara. At 2:55, out of the blue, a friend of ours appeared 
at our door. "You guys never get to go out and have any fun," she 
said. "I'll watch the kids, you just go take a break." So, thanks to 
divine intervention, we both got to attend what Baba called "My 
darshan in Chapel Hill." 

What a talk! Rick and Henry Kashouty trying to explain the 
planes of consciousness to 35 dazed hippies for VA hours. In terms 
of content, possibly one of the worst Baba talks ever given. Who 
cares what plane you need to be on to stop a railroad train? It's in 
God Speaks and they mentioned it! But we were riveted. It was 
wonderful. No manifestations of Baba were reported, but by the 
end of the talk it seemed like nearly half the attendees were seconds 
or weeks away from being Baba lovers. Barbara and I briefly met 
with about six people afterwards at Lorenzo Durham's house. She 
and I found, because we were challenged about it by a friend who 
had missed the talk, that both of us were absolutely convinced of 
Baba's Avatarhood. But was I ready to give up taking recreational 
drugs, which seemed to be a serious requirement? Barbara had no 
hesitation. For me that decision took two more days. 

For the next few months I followed Baba, no doubt, but 
there were moments of my ego wondering whether Baba was hip 
enough for me. I had been a bit put off by the Baba quotes in the 
Barn at the Meher Spiritual Center; not the content, but rather the 
font they were printed in - it looked too Christian, too hokey to me: 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 83 

a religion run by little old ladies. It might be embarrassing to be a 
Baba lover! But we loved the Center. We loved the people we met, 
some of whom are life-long friends. We loved Kitty Davy - how 
could you not be amazed by her? 

Still, just in case, I felt the need to check out what Baba 
said by reading the Discourses. And what I found was not only the 
same information, expanded, but also that same voice that I had 
loved in the Gita. My Krishna (and everyone else's) come again! 
Read a chapter of the Gita and you'll see what I mean. 

In the time between coming to Baba in May 1967 and 
Baba's Amartithi in 1969 it was really exciting just to know that 
Baba was there spinning around on this tiny globe on the oppo- 
site side. I'd think, Baba is probably getting up now, and Baba 
might send a telegram to Chapel Hill. In fact the Chapel Hill group 
received, or were mentioned in, at least three telegrams from Baba. 
Phyllis Ott or Elizabeth Patterson would call and read them to us. 
In one, Baba actually said about Barbara and me, "Baba is happy 
with your love." I was on a cloud for days after that, although that 
statement was and is also scary, because it means to me that we 
must really try to be worthy of that love. We all must - whether we 
got a mention from Baba in that particular way or not. 

I recall three messages that came to early Chapel Hill lov- 
ers that, right or wrong, many of us took to apply universally. In 
the first message, Dick Anthony had had permission to write to 
Baba about a specific Baba-work project. Should he participate 
or not? Baba sent back a lot of instructions, but in answer to this 
question he told Dick, "I will guide you internally." I, at least took 
this as a promise to all of us. The old lovers we were meeting at the 
Center and elsewhere had checked with Baba about every detail 
of their lives: Should I move? Change jobs? Buy a car? Now with 
Baba in seclusion that was not possible for them or for us, and this 
seemed to me to be the promise that solves that problem. 

In the second message a member of our old community came 
into Baba's orbit, but had serious problems with drugs, including 
ones that were addictive. Baba mentioned him in one of the tele- 
grams generally to our group, referred to him as 'Baba-Benton', 



84 Finding God In North Carolina 

using his last name, and promised him simply, "Baba will never 
leave you." This really nice guy did seem to lose interest in Baba, 
had serious continuing problems with drugs and later with alcohol, 
and a few years before his death from liver problems, he started 
coming to Baba meetings from time to time. Baba knows whether 
we can hold tight to Him or not - and this promise seemed to me 
that it was given to reassure us all of Baba's real fidelity trumping 
our own fickle efforts. 

The third message came to a woman who had a car crash 
and injured her hip badly enough to need crutches for at least a few 
weeks. Baba sent a message directly to her saying, "As you now 
share My suffering, you will one day share My bliss, by loving Me 
more and more." When she acknowledged receipt of the message 
she slipped in a question and supplied a prepaid reply. The ques- 
tion was, "How can I love you more and more?" and Baba's reply 
was simply, "By thinking of Me more and more." So simple a solu- 
tion. Heart feeling like a prune? Grouchy? Sorry for yourself? Just 
think of Him, make that effort, and you are loving Him, even if the 
feelings are not gushing as we imagine they should be. 

The Baba activities were crackling then. As a group, we 
arranged talks and literally hundreds of people would come. Twenty 
years later we'd arrange a talk and 70 people would come - 65 people 
from the Baba group and five new faces, four of whom had already 
heard of Baba. But in this era, with Baba in Meherazad doing His 
work in seclusion, the students were receptive, the Baba work was 
exciting; 'Baba' coincidences were everywhere and we were all in 
a wonderful mass honeymoon phase that I'll never forget. Here are 
a few incidents: 

The day after Rick's talk we asked our daughter, "Jenni, 
can you say 'Meher Baba'?" She was V/i years old, sitting in her 
high chair eating a bowl of cereal at the time. She stood up with a 
huge smile and said, "Meher Baba!" Then she pointed her spoon at 
Barbara and said, "Mommy you are Baba." Then, "Daddy you are 
Baba, and I'm Baba too." We could not believe it. She had never 
before heard Baba's name and she was showing us that she already 
knew, in a sense, more than we did. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 85 

Within a few days of Rick's talk we called my brother, 
Brad, long distance and he was a Baba lover by the time he hung 
up the phone. (Elder brother Keith dragged his feet for a few years 
and came to Baba more or less on his own). 

A northern lover flew down to give a talk in Durham about 
eight miles from Chapel Hill. His suitcase was lost by the airline. 
He needed it because it contained important notes. He reported 
it missing and then was walking through the airport and noticed 
that the bag was on a conveyer belt for a different flight, going the 
same speed he was walking, and all he had to do was reach out his 
hand and pick it up. Jai Baba! I was racing to the airport, in danger 
of being late. Gulp! There was something I forgot that I had to go 
back home to get. I went back and walked in the door, the phone 
rang, and it was the person I was going to pick up, to tell me he 
was coming on a totally different flight and time. So many little 
coincidences like this happened that I could fill a book with them 
if I could remember them all after nearly 40 years. 

Barbara and I took our cute little ruffians to the Center for 
our first Silence Day in 1967. She went for a walk while I tried to 
mind the kids, who were very upset because they couldn't really 
understand about our silence. I was seconds away from having to 
start speaking for them, when she rushed into the Original Kitchen 
to help. She had been walking through the woods and seen Kitty. 
Kitty had pulled out a pad and written, "Save your little ones," so 
she knew to run to my rescue. We found out later that Kitty always 
put a curl on her w's, and she had really written, "Saw your little 
ones." 

My mother never proclaimed herself a Baba lover, but she 
had an inner communication from Baba one morning while sit- 
ting at her kitchen table. She had been worrying about Brad, who 
had become engaged at age 20 to a 'totally unsuitable' girl (who 
is a Baba lover and old friend now to Brad, Keith and me). She 
reported that the experience was like a 300 watt lightbulb turning 
on inside her head and she heard this message: "I put the doubt in 
your mind and I also put the doubt in Brad's mind. Leave every- 
thing to Me." She knew this message was from Baba. Then a few 



86 Finding God In North Carolina 

days later Brad suggested to his fiancee that they wait until the end 
of the college semester to get married. She became angry, accused 
him of not wanting to get married but being afraid to say so, and 
broke up with him. As promised to my mom. 

Finally the telegram came for Darshan to be held in April 
to June 1969. When I heard Baba had dropped His body, my first 
thought was, Maybe this is the start of His humiliation and the sec- 
ond was ...but I still want to go. But what to do? Plenty of bills, no 
savings. Barbara's dad was in good financial shape, but had some 
hostility toward Baba and would surely refuse to give or lend us 
the money. But to our surprise he said, "I gave your sister $1500 
last year to go with her husband to a conference in France so I 
guess I have to be fair." And he sent us a check the next day. Thank 
you, thank you, thank you, Baba. 

When our flight landed in Bombay, there were no jetways. 
You just walked down a ladder from the airplane to the pavement. 
I was expecting India to be a foreign and exotic place, a vastly new 
experience. Then the cabin door opened and that amazing smell of 
Bombay came pouring into the plane - incense, pee, spices, flow- 
ers, cooking fires, diesel fumes. I felt a wave of homesickness wash 
over me, provoked entirely by the smell of the air: "I'm home!" I 
never had felt that I belonged to or was connected with any place 
I had ever lived. I had felt totally like a foreigner in New Jersey, 
Pennsylvania, New York and North Carolina. What a surprise, to 
expect a place to be exotic and different and find instead that I had 
finally found 'my spot' in the world. 

Our first darshan meeting, 9- 1 1 am at Guruprasad, we sat in 
silence. Eruch said, "You have kept your appointment with God." 
We each took turns bowing down at Baba's chair. I sat for a long 
time before bowing down, internally repeating, "I just want to love 
you more and more. Please help me love you more." At 1 1 am we 
filed out of the hall and Mani gave me a hug that was so astonish- 
ingly wonderful, that I could only imagine Baba was embracing me 
through her. This was certainly one of the most blissful moments 
of my life. The remaining three darshan days were quite disap- 
pointing in comparison, because we did not get to sit in silence, 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 87 

we had to have performances. The mandali felt we needed to be 
entertained. Eventually I realized that they were not just trying to 
keep us from being bored (or in my case blissed), but were trying 
to give us a hint of what the time would have been like in Baba's 
physical presence, with the multifarious activities He'd have been 
orchestrating. 

One incident I especially remember from the darshan trip 
involved my brother Brad, who was suffering from some combi- 
nation of heat stroke, dehydration and an intestinal problem. He 
was lying on a cot in the Trust compound in 'Nagar with a fever. 
The bed was in the section where Khorshed used to stay, near the 
old Pilgrim Reservation Office. A lover from our darshan group 
came in and bowed down at the cot Brad was lying on, evidently 
mistaking Brad's condition as being blissful enjoyment of Baba's 
vibrations! And by that time, our fifth or sixth day in India, I must 
say that we had gotten bow-down fever and were taking darshan 
of any object connected with Baba. But at the moment this fellow 
saw Brad and started to bow at the cot, Adi K. Irani came walking 
past. He flew into the room and grabbed this poor fellow by the 
arm and pulled him upright, saying, "No, no, Meher Baba never 
slept in that bed!" It turned out that Adi was in the habit of taking 
naps on that cot, and I am guessing he didn't want some Westerner 
leaving his impressions there. 

For years afterward, and even now almost 40 years later, 
when I get into a car that has been parked in the sun, I'll sometime 
close the door and just sit there for a minute or two, and will feel 
transported back to that day in May 1 969 when we went from Pune 
to Meherabad to visit Baba's Samadhi. I do not know what the 
temperature was, but I know that 105F is 'no sweat' compared to 
that day's heat. Maybe Baba was burning off some impressions for 
us, literally. (Brad's heat stroke was treated by Dr William Donkin 
when we returned to Pune). 

Let's imagine (and I suspect it's true) that all of us who have 
come to Baba and stuck with Baba for some time have an old con- 
nection with Him. Who knows how many times we have been in the 
physical presence of the Ancient One? How many times we have 



88 Finding God In North Carolina 

worked for Him, failed to work for Him, pleased Him and let Him 
down? Yet He keeps drawing us back and we keep trying to tighten 
our connection with Him just as He keeps trying to draw us closer. 
Did we miss seeing Him this time? So what - maybe we saw him in 
1924.. .or in 1325. ..or in 30AD. I could feel bitter that I 'missed Him', 
but actually I feel very fortunate to have been in the body when He 
was and to have had experiences that I consider 'darshan' even though 
He wasn't physically present. He has given me much more than I can 
imagine I deserve, and he keeps on giving. And even if I fail to please 
Him, I often think I am detecting that I and we all amuse Him very 
nicely as this colossal drama of His unfolds. Jai Meher Baba! 

John lives part-time in Chapel Hill and part-time in India. 



Marshall Hay 

I came to Myrtle Beach for the first time in 1961, Christmas sea- 
son, when my parents bought a lot in Briarcliflfe which adjoins the 
Center. What's of interest is that, at that time, as a teenager with my 
buddy, I explored the area near the Center while my parents were 
off buying this lot. I recall standing at the cabana at Briarcliffe, 
looking down the beach and there was nothing to the south at all, 
no development at all. As we wandered the neighborhood, we did 
not see the Meher Center. It was here. I am sure of that. We walked 
back and forth past the entrance but not onto the Center. That in 
fact was my experience even after my family moved here in 1963. 
Although I drove by the Center for the next several years, I never 
knew it was here. How Baba keeps us apart until the day. 

I went off to Chapel Hill in the Fall of 1963. Looking back, 
it is remarkable to me how in my way I gravitated to a particu- 
lar situation and immediately began making this circle of friends, 
many of whom would later become devoted to Baba. Hindsight. 
During this period, like a lot of other people, I got into drugs. I 
took a lot of LSD and all of that. That was a BIG part of my life. 
I was in and out of school. I was essentially a part time student. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 89 

In those days you had to stay on to avoid the draft. I found myself 
very, very committed to staying in Chapel Hill. Things came along 
that could have taken me away, but they just couldn't happen. 

In 1965 I was taking LSD and like most people that I knew, 
was taking it as a spiritual pursuit. I was having this really remark- 
able experience, but everytime I took LSD there was this dimin- 
ished effect. My love affair with drugs was disintegrating, but I 
didn't know what else to do and this was a difficult thing. 

Then in May, 1 966, I recall sitting one day in the Student 
Union, Graham Memorial. I was reading magazines and picked 
up a Look magazine. There was an article on LSD, which I read. 
It was the kind of thing that was happening a lot at that point. It 
was talking about this thing that was sweeping the country. They 
had blurred photographs which seemed to say this was the typical 
image of using LSD. As I read this, a very clear voice inside of me 
to, "No one knows what this stuff is!" 

A few days later, there was going to be a giant going away 
party near Southern Pines for a friend of mine, Ed Causey, who 
had been drafted. His family had a farm out there near Southern 
Pines. We took over this farm for the weekend and about 50 people 
shifted from Chapel Hill to there and this event went on. I recall 
standing next to a lake talking to these two gals. It was 4 o'clock in 
the morning and I announced that I was going to go back to Myrtle 
Beach. I would hitchhike back to Myrtle Beach. So I went out on 
the road and started hitchhiking. I had just been for two days at 
this 'brawF in the woods and looked a 'sight.' It was amazing that 
anybody picked me up. It took me a day to hitchhike back there. 
As I got closer and closer to town, I was filled with the desire to go 
get a job at this Hardee's hamburger stand. 

A couple of years before, I had known a fellow, Will Bullard, 
who had a job at the King Burger on Rosemary Street in Chapel 
Hill. I remember standing there with a couple of friends. We 
used to go over there and buy fish sandwiches. I remember think- 
ing to myself, This is the greatest job in the world. All you have 
to do is turn the hamburger. This registered with me. So I came 
back to Myrtle Beach and here was my chance to go get a job at 



90 Finding God In North Carolina 

a hamburger stand. So I went and applied for the job the next day 
and the man hired me. It was a buck an hour. So I got this job and 
started working there. I was working at the job several days, dur- 
ing which time I was reading a book, Mysticism - A Study of the 
Christian Mystics, by Evelyn Underhill. During my dinner break 
one night, this fellow worker came in and said, "Marshall! Do 
you know anything about mysticism?!" I looked at him and said, 
"Well I know a little bit." I didn't know what else to say. In truth I 
couldn't understand anything (laughter)! He said, "Have you ever 
heard of a mystic named Meher Baba?" I said, "No, I have never 
heard of a mystic named Meher Baba. "Who's he?" He said, "I 
know some people that are interested in him." That was the extent 
of that conversation. 

I went home that night and the next morning I was sitting 
on my parents' sofa and I picked up Look magazine. I opened up 
to "The Letters to The Editor" and in the column was a response to 
the article about LSD that had been so distasteful to me. I read this 
letter which said we should remember the words of the foremost 
spiritualist teacher of our time. Then the writer gave Meher Baba's 
statement on drugs. I was halfway through this statement when I 
had the realization that these words were coming from the very 
core of existence, the absolute source of being. These were words 
of the most profound nature. I had never in my life had this experi- 
ence or anything approaching it. 

I went back to work that night and I approached my co- 
worker, Tommy LeClare, and I grabbed him and I said, "Tell me 
about Meher Baba!" He didn't know much, but he had a connection 
with the Haynes family so he gave me their address. At that time 
they were living in Myrtle Beach just a few blocks from where my 
parents lived. The next morning I went to Happy House, where 
the Haynes lived, which was then located downtown and later 
was moved to the Center. This must have been a Sunday morning 
and I approached the back door of their house looking for them. I 
knocked on the door. There was a screen porch up a few steps. Out 
comes this woman in a robe and curlers, who turns out to be Jane 
Haynes. She looked at me and discretely reached up and latched 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 9 1 

the screen door (laughter). I looked up at her and asked, "Are you 
a disciple of Avatar Baba?" Her hand went up and unlatched the 
door. So I went in and we sat in her living room for a few minutes. 
I remember looking at a picture of Baba that was over her fire- 
place. We talked and she made a phone call to Elizabeth Patterson. 
I had my car and followed her out to the Center. 

So I came to Dilruba and there I met both Kitty and 
Elizabeth. We spoke for just a few minutes and Elizabeth then 
drove me into the Center. I can remember that day so clearly - seeing 
trees as we drove down the road. Allan Cohen was there. As I far 
as I can remember, it was the 3rd of June 1966. He was staying in 
the Lookout Cabin. He was working on his PhD. and was writing 
something. Elizabeth got ahold of him, took me to him, and left us 
talking. He reached in his pocket and pulled out this card, one of 
Baba's statements, "To penetrate into the essence..." and gave it to 
me to read. That's the very definition - to the point. I spent the day 
and evening here at the Center. 

In those days, most of the people who came to the Center 
had met Baba. Very few came that had not. I was here for a week 
or so. I quit my job immediately. Then I decided to go back to 
Chapel Hill because this was incredible news and I wanted to share 
it with my friends. They were this circle of people who were genu- 
ine seekers. Kitty and Elizabeth loaded me up with pamphlets and 
I hitchhiked back. I remember walking across the UNC campus 
toward Franklin Street and I went, maybe, into Harry's and it took 
maybe three minutes for me to get back into drugs and to com- 
pletely blow the whole thing. But I kept talking about Baba. 

I went back to Myrtle Beach, back to Chapel Hill and back 
and forth. I wasn't using a lot of drugs, but it had such a hold on me 
as I was so involved. It was just impossible on the face of it to stop. 
So Baba was weening me off the drugs. I continued to meet many 
people who had been with Baba - an extraordinarily rich collec- 
tion of people who had met Him under all circumstances. Fred and 
Ella Winterfeldt came on their vacation. Ralph and Stella came up 
from Florida. Julia Madriess. Lynn and Phyllis Ott had just moved 
to town and were just moving into their house. Phyllis tells the 



92 Finding God In North Carolina 

story of what must have been my first day on the Center. Appar- 
ently, I was at the beach, maybe with Allan Cohen, walking along, 
and Phyllis was on the beach. We met. She asked me apparently if I 
was a Baba lover and apparently I said "Yes." Even Phyllis will tell 
you she was shocked! (laughter) Shocked at the quality of people 
that Baba was attracting. Oh well! 

As time went on, I talked to everyone in Chapel Hill about 
Baba, giving out his pamphlets and pictures. Simultaneously, I was 
probably the worst possible example that one could present in my 
personal life. Couldn't be worse! Beyond hypocrisy. Later, Winnie 
Barrett (who was married), who I was very close to in those days, 
made the comment that in our circle, people assumed I was on top 
of some kind of giant joke. You couldn't have said what I said and 
then do what I did. (laughter) It was impossible! 

During this time I had also been taking a lot of methadrine 
and that autumn, me and a couple of friends were shooting this 
methadrine and one of the guys had a stroke. It resulted in our 
being arrested. We were thrown out of school and it was quite a big 
deal. Front page stories in all of the newspapers in North Carolina. 
In those days, the Charlotte paper was the dominant local paper 
here in Myrtle Beach. So news spread. I was incarcerated, and my 
parents had to get me out. I was expelled from the University. I 
came back to Myrtle Beach and after a day or so I came out to the 
Center, shameless. I showed up at Dilruba. I remember Kitty and 
Elizabeth looking at me when I came in and Kitty said, "Are you 
alright?" That was the only comment about the entire thing. They 
gave me a key and I came back into the Center. It would have been 
difficult to screw up more badly than I had. 

So I spent that winter of 1966 - 1967 here in Myrtle Beach 
and went back to Chapel Hill occasionally. I went up there for New 
Year's Eve, which was the last time I ever took drugs. This is what 
it took. In the old public library, my friend David Southerland and 
I took a lot of LSD then shot up methadrine. Nothing happened! 
Nothing happened! You can't do what we did and have nothing 
happen. Since I couldn't give it up, Baba took it away. That was it. 
It was gone. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 93 

Occasionally friends came down here (to Myrtle Beach). 
Dick Anthony, Ray Cass, Lucius Shepherd. They came down and 
stayed at the Center. There was this budding interest in Baba in 
these people. In approxomately April, 1967, Dick Anthony was 
here and was staying in the Lake Cabin. I remember sitting with 
him and talking. He was one of a number of people involved in a 
'Be In' event which was happening around the country in those 
days. Big parties. They were going to rent a coliseum in Durham. 
The civic center or The Armory, and bring down a group from 
New York called the Godz and there would be a big dance. And 
as we talked, I mentioned that this fellow Rick Chapman, who 
had been in India and had met Baba, was coming back to the 
States and was to give talks around the country. So Dick said, 
"Why don't we have him come and give a talk at this dance and 
then afterwards?" It seemed like a good idea. It was very rare that 
anybody saw Baba. He was in seclusion and drawing His work to 
a close. It was a very, very special thing. Even though Rick's con- 
tact with Him was limited in terms of time, it was extraordinary 
that it happened at all. 

This was actually very close to the date of this event. So 
we spoke to Kitty and Elizabeth and they said, "Wonderful. We'll 
arrange that." So they cabled Baba in India requesting that Rick 
do this. Rick then arrived back in the States and cables began 
to fly back and forth. He had not planned to come to the South. 
He had planned to go to more sophisticated areas. Apparently the 
order from Baba came to him to go do this in Chapel Hill. He was 
staying with Fred and Ella Winterfeldt in New York. Kitty and 
Elizabeth apparently came to the conclusion that there needed to 
be an adult along and that Henry Kashouty would be the appro- 
priate person. Henry lived and still does in Hampton, Virginia. 
At that point he was about 45 and he had had significant experi- 
ence with Baba. They cabled Baba asking permission for Henry 
to accompany Rick on this trip. 

One of the games in those days was to always have your 
name mentioned in a letter or a cable so that Baba would read it. 
I was standing there when they sent off that cable. Because the 



94 Finding God In North Carolina 

plan was that I was going to travel up there with them to Chapel 
Hill, I asked Kitty, "Shouldn't you ask permission for me too?" 
(laughter) Kitty said, "No, no. You're the link." So I didn't get 
my name mentioned. We didn't get a cable back. But the day 
arrived and Henry showed up in this sports car and the three of 
us piled in, off for Chapel Hill with the goal of arriving at this 
party. Even though I was not using drugs at this time, I remember 
standing on the porch of Dilruba, looking at Kitty, and saying, 
"Kitty, I am going off to this dance. It's going to take a lot of 
energy. Wouldn't it be alright if I took just a little pill?" And she 
looked at me and said, "Oh no, no. Baba will give you all the 
energy you need." 

So we drove off and got to this event at the Durham Armory 
crowded with people, jammed with people. We walked in and 
there's this giant day-glo of Baba behind the bandstand. We were 
there and I was full of energy just like Kitty had predicted. It was 
a great big party. Rick got up at the intermission and announced in 
this sort of Rick Chapman style, "I've just returned from India and 
I've met this man, Avatar Meher Baba. And you think you're high! 
He's the HIGHEST of the high." At which point, all these paper 
cups and stuff (laughter) were thrown at him. People started boo- 
ing Rick because Baba's name and message on drugs had spread. 
Marshall, the hypocrite, had done his work. No one to my knowl- 
edge accepted it. Rick announced a talk the next day in Chapel Hill 
at the Wesley Foundation. 

The next day, we were there; Rick, Henry and myself, and 
the two of them gave this talk to perhaps seventy people. It was 
really quite a crowd. When it was over, Rick went to the airport and 
Henry back to Virginia and a day or so later, I hitchhiked back to 
Myrtle Beach. Then I went out to Dilruba right away and was met 
at the door by Kitty. She said, "You'd be interested in this." It was 
the cable from India. It was from Mani and it gave Baba's permis- 
sion for Henry Kashouty to accompany Rick Chapman to Meher 
Baba's darshan in Chapel Hill. 

In the next month, probably 20 or 25 people came to the 
Center from the group that had heard the talk. People began to 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 95 

come because Baba had indeed given darshan. A remarkable group 
of people. And out of that grew one of the core situations of Baba's 
work in America. So my little role was to carry His name up there 
to Chapel Hill and it went on from there. I think that for me, com- 
ing to Meher Baba, was this ten or eleven month process from 
June 1966 through April of 1967 when Baba gave darshan in 
Chapel Hill. It was so intertwined with the destiny of Chapel Hill, 
the destiny of Baba's work there. I have been here at the Center 
essentially since then. 

There was this wonderful, extraordinary connection between 
Chapel Hill and the Center. These people would come down here 
constantly and this would give me great pleasure because these 
people were my friends and extraordinary people every one. The 
group formed. There had always been group heads. Fred and Ella 
with the New York Group, Ivy in San Francisco. Chapel Hill, where 
no one had known of Baba for more than three weeks, the question 
was, "Whose going to be the group head?" So they wrote to Baba, 
and the answer was that He would be the group head. Now that's 
pretty flattering, I think (laughter). Or it's a statement from Baba 
that He had to take this group of people on himself (laughter). 
Later Eruch made the often repeated comment that Baba had very 
much liked the Chapel Hill group. Because they were not afraid to 
take chances. So that's how I came to Meher Baba. And of course 
the adventure continues, as it does for each of us. 

Addendum 

To be here during those days was extraordinary because 
Baba's work was so intense. The Center, which had been a very 
quiet place, now became a very active place. I had my hand in that. 
It was amazing to be here. The group took off in Chapel Hill and 
Baba's name spread to outposts of civilization like Durham and 
even Raleigh. In the summer of '68, it said in The Family Letters 
that Baba had finished his work at Guruprasad and then in October, 
there was a letter from India that Baba had called a meeting of men 
workers, to prepare for a darshan in the Spring. 



96 Finding God In North Carolina 

Kitty and Elizabeth had access to Baba the way that the 
resident mandali did, so they would get information that would 
not be circulated around the country. Our little community, ten 
or twelve people, had access to that type of thing. There were 
always letters back and forth. I mentioned before about people 
always wanting to put their name in them. Let's just say that 
Baba rarely mentioned my name (laughter). Really only once in 
a letter to Kitty. 

Then, I was living in Conway and this call came from 
Elizabeth. And the message was to come over to Dilruba as 
quickly as possible. When driving over, the thought crossed my 
mind that Baba might have dropped His body because we knew 
His health had been incredibly delicate. I arrived at Dilruba and 
our community was gathered. Elizabeth met me at the front door. 
She looked at me, took me into one of the rooms and described 
how she had woke up that morning with the thought, / know that 
my Redeemer liveth. And then she told me that Fred had received 
a phone call in New York from India that Baba had dropped His 
body. 

While sitting there, I looked out the window and a car 
drove up and two guys got out and came to the front door. They 
were showing up at the Center and they wanted a tour. So I went 
back to the kitchen where Kitty was and I said, "Kitty! There are 
two guys at the front door wanting to find out about Baba. What 
should I do?!" She said, "Give them a tour." And I did. I remember 
walking up from Dilruba towards Baba's house and it was the first 
time I had to articulate that Baba was gone. I would normally have 
said that Meher Baba lives in India. I had to tell them. We went 
on and we toured the Center. That was an amazing day! Baba's 
presence flooded this place. It was as if He was always just around 
the corner of a building or was just about to enter the room. An 
extraordinary message of: "I am not gone." 

It has occurred to me many times that His presence is stron- 
ger now than before he dropped His body. As I am sitting here I 
remember that the question that Tommy LeClare posed to me at 
Hardees: "Do you know anything about mysticism?" And I lied 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 97 

(laughter). But now I realize that, "What more is there than the 
presence of God in one's life?" I'm having a revelation. I never 
made this connection before. "What is there for an ordinary human 
being in terms of mystical experience, other than that we know 
Meher Baba is with us right now, literally, in the room?" 

So in 1969, we went to India. Myrtle Beach went as a 
group. Eduardo Nunez showed up. He had heard of Baba in 
January. There was a gal from the Chapel Hill group named Ila 
Murray and her grandmother came on the trip. Did the whole 
thing! I never saw her again but it was an extraordinary thing. 
The karma of people. 

The first time I went into the Samadhi for Baba's darshan, 
my friend, Henry Kashouty, was playing Begin the Beguine on the 
trombone outside. So in my life Henry's been there twice: Baba's 
darshan in Chapel Hill and Marshall's little darshan with Baba. 
Then I went to Guruprasad for Baba's darshan. Having Baba's dar- 
shan was one of the pivotal events in my life. I remember having 
had the darshan and recognizing at that moment that this would be a 
good day to just die. I came out and was completely stunned, turned 
around. I was leaning on the rail of the patio and Mani came up and 
told me she had for me a sadra for the Chapel Hill group. Not long 
after that, I was talking with my friend, Bruce Hoffman, who was 
there and he told he had just been given a sadra for the New York 
young people's group and there was no New York young people's 
group (laughter). I said, "Yeah, I've just been given a sadra for the 
Chapel Hill group, and I don't live in Chapel Hill." But the sadra 
made its way back up there to its proper home. It stayed here at the 
Center for awhile and then ended up there. 

I think anything one can do, or is given to do, in contact 
with Baba is an extraordinary gift. It was a great privilege to be 
involved with Chapel Hill, to have my coming-to-Baba as part of 
this giant coming-to-Baba. I certainly thank Him for that. Wonder- 
ful, beyond wonderful event to have witnessed. Great thing. 

Marshall was born in Raleigh and lived in Chapel Hill from 
1963 to 1967. He now lives in Myrtle Beach. 



98 Finding God In North Carolina 

Najoo Kotwal 

JAIMEHERBABA! 

My father, Savak Kotwal, was a seeker of God. As a young 
man, he held a very responsible post as a cashier in The Bank of India 
in Bombay. He came to hear of Meher Baba in October 1927. When 
he met Baba, he knew that he had reached his goal of discovering God 
in human form. Yet for thirteen painfulyears he carried on his duties 
as a husband and a father. Finally he became desperate, and wanted 
to be with Baba. He beseeched Baba to accept him in his Ashram, and 
Baba knowing the depth of my father's craving, finally agreed. 

Everything in our lovely home was sold off, and all that we 
carried to Baba's Ashram was four trunks, three bedding rolls and 
mummy's expensive Adler sewing machine, mummy had requested 
from Baba to bring the sewing machine to sew kafnis for the masts 
in Baba's Mast Ashram. Father carried all the cash that was ours, 
and also what we received by selling off all the items of a well estab- 
lished home. All this he carried in one large envelope in his coat 
pocket, because those days were such that people were very honest. 

On March 15, 1940, because of one true lover of God 
Beloved, Baba accepted the responsibility of the entire family, 
Savak, his wife Nergiz, two daughters, Najoo, eleven years old, 
Hilloo, six years old and our little brother, two years old. It was the 
blessings of countless lifetimes that we were allowed to be with 
the God-Man, Meher Baba, while He adorned this earth! 

Beloved Baba educated us by sending us to the schools, 
where the local princes, and The Nizam (King) of Hyderabad had 
enrolled their children. Such was the mercy of Lord Meher for the 
children of His one Lover, who wished to be His slave. I completed 
a Senior Cambridge degree in Hyderabad, then an Inter-Science 
degree from Poona, and then a Baccalaureate in Nursing, from the 
University of Delhi. 

However, even though I had a university degree, my salary 
was only the same as that of an ordinary diploma acquired by train- 
ing in a hospital. I felt sad, and I complained about this anomaly 
to Baba, my Big Daddy, for this is what we called Him as children 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 



99 




Meher Baba in India, March 15. 1940, Photo courtesy of M.S.I. Collection. India 



in His Ashram. Beloved Baba gave me a patient hearing for this 
injustice, and as a loving Big Daddy, He gave justice. Shortly after, 
I was transferred to Gujarat State close to Bombay State where 
rural health was neglected considerably. 

I traveled considerably throughout the state with a very 
kind lady doctor, called Dr. Mrs. Verma. She loved me dearly, and 
our jeep driver was also very good, and protective of us, since we 
traveled alone all around Gujarat, setting up rural health centers, 
all over the State. 

Shortly after that time, The Director of Nursing of the 
Government of India, came to our State, and I was asked to go 
around with her and show her whatever places she wanted to see 



100 Finding God In North Carolina 

in the field. She traveled extensively all over with me to observe 
the development of rural public health nursing, and she was so 
impressed with my hard work, that she expressed her satisfaction 
to the Public Health Director in Charge. She further told me that 
she wished to send me abroad to the United States for a Masters 
degree in Public Health, for which she would send me an applica- 
tion form. It was all Beloved Baba's grace, no doubt. 

Shortly after I met with Beloved Baba and told Him about 
the scholarship I was offered, and Baba was pleased and asked 
me to apply. He so kindly asked me where I wished to go in the 
USA. I immediately said, "Baba I want be near our Elizabeth and 
Kitty." Baba smiled, and I then embraced Him and left to go back 
to Gujarat State where I was posted. 

You see, in the ashram at Meherabad, we lived together, so 
my answer from Baba was spontaneous. Baba smiled, and within 
a fortnight I received a letter to say that I have been selected by 
the University of North Carolina, USA for study for a Masters in 
Public Health. In those days the University of North Carolina was 
well known for this course, so Beloved Baba turned the key to help 
me once again. 

I immediately wrote to beloved Baba and He was glad too. 
I received a letter from our dearest Mani, Baba's sister. She wrote 
that Baba was pleased at the news. She further wrote: 

Dear Najoo: 

Beloved Baba has given the order that when you go abroad, you 
should enjoy outings and food offered to you, but you must not 
accept any gifts, monetary or otherwise offered to you by any of 
His Lovers. 

So I was very careful to tell my Baba friends, in advance 
lest they buy something for me. 

Also I was so happy, because Elizabeth Patterson and Kitty 
Davy, were close to my University. Beloved Baba was indeed very 
compassionate to me, for He wanted me to enjoy my stay abroad 
too. What a great Big Daddy, indeed! 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 101 

I had to make preparations for going abroad in much haste! 
It was hectic indeed. My scholarship in 1960 was very meager! It 
was just $5 per day, which covered my food and travel for classes 
back and forth from where I was in the campus! 

After a week at the University of North Carolina in Chapel 
Hill, I felt very lonely, so I decided to go for a walk. I entered 
a coffee house, and took coffee and started sipping it with tears 
rolling down my cheeks. I was missing my Baba and my family. I 
looked at the door and I saw a gentleman with polio in both legs, 
walking with crutches and coming towards my table. He said, 
"Young lady, may I join you?" I smiled and he sat opposite to me. 
He said to me, "You look very worried, sad and lonely. I wonder 
if I can be of any help?" I replied, "Next month I have a three day 
holiday. I have two lady friends in Myrtle Beach, but I do not have 
their address. Is there a bus by which I could travel there? I feel 
very upset, as I want to meet them, but where will I find them? 
Does your telephone directory have the address?" He asked me 
the names of my friends and I told him. He gave a hearty laugh 
and said, " Young lady, I think God has brought me here to help 
you to get to your friends. I know them, just a little acquaintance, 
I should say." 

He then said, "I am Claude Dunnagan. I live in Chapel Hill 
and go for weekend business trips to Myrtle Beach. So anytime 
you wish to meet them just ring me up, and I will take you to their 
home in my special car, since I am stricken with polio in both legs. 
I will drop you at their gate, and you can have your holiday!" Hear- 
ing this, I was overjoyed, and I asked him for his telephone number 
and Elizabeth's telephone number, which he got from the phone 
directory in the coffee house. I was overjoyed at the way Beloved 
Baba was helping me to be happy! What a great Big Daddy! 

I then made a telephone call to Elizabeth from the hostel, 
because I wanted to be sure whether it was ok to travel with a 
stranger! She was overjoyed to hear from me, and said she knew 
Mr. Dunnagan a little, and they approved my traveling with him to 
Myrtle Beach. She said they knew him through Baba's sister Mani's 
letter that I was at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. 



1 02 Finding God In North Carolina 

She gave me detailed instructions, where I would be picked up! 
Thus at every step Beloved Baba tried to keep me happy, since I 
was so far away from home! 

On my arrival at Youpon Dunes in Myrtle Beach, Elizabeth 
assigned me a secluded room on the first floor, facing the sea. I 
loved the sound of the waves lashing the shore! Our Kitty was 
very service-minded. As I knew her in the ashram, she was just 
the same here. She would bring my tea and breakfast to my room 
and I felt embarrassed, but she said, "You must study after break- 
fast, and at 10:30 am. Elizabeth will take you around in her car 
supervising the work assigned to each worker at the Center." She 
was meticulous about every little detail as cottages were being 
built for Baba-pilgrims who would come to enjoy the spiritual 
atmosphere of Beloved Baba's home in the West. She would 
instruct the workers as to which tree was to be trimmed, and 
which was to be uprooted and transplanted somewhere else in the 
Meher Spiritual Center. 

As she went on her daily rounds, taking me with her, it 
reminded me of Baba's disciple, Padri Kaka, in Meherabad. I would 
watch and think how Beloved Baba had selected His lovers, who 
were rarest of the rare gems, to establish His home in the West, as 
He previously did in the past, in the East. Thus, I enjoyed my every 
visit with Elizabeth and Kitty who were wonderful examples on 
how to love God in one's actions. 

Everytime I had a long holiday, I would ring up Claude, 
and he would give me a ride to Baba's Home. Dear Claude did not 
know that by giving me a ride, he was being benefitted as well for 
his generosity to me and he was also in proximity to God's home 
in the West. Baba has said, "Whoever gives even a glass of water 
to my lovers, I will pay them back a hundredfold." So, dear Claude 
has unknowingly reaped the harvest because of his kindness to me. 
Every time I returned by the bus to Chapel Hill, Elizabeth would 
buy my ticket. 

Baba's sister Mani wrote a very loving letter to me say- 
ing, "If you ever feel lonely just remember to switch on the Baba- 
phones to catch our loving thoughts." 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 03 

During Christmas time it was so lovely to be a member of 
Elizabeth's family rather than a guest. Eli-Kit (Elizabeth and Kitty) 
both treated me as a family member. Also I enjoyed the delicacies laid 
out on the dining table with Beloved Baba watching us from His lovely 
photograph with a sweet smile! We sang several Christmas carols and 
then Beloved Baba's Arti. For New Years, I was so very happy to 
see our ashram member from India - guess who? The great ballerina, 
Margaret Craske! She had come to grace the New Year occasion! 

In February, Mani wrote in her letter to me that she could 
not read my letters to Baba while He was in seclusion but, "He is 
always eavesdropping at the doors of His lovers' hearts and hears 
everything you feel." She further wrote, "Even a whisper from the 
bottom of one's heart is heard." 

My time in the USA simply flew by. Our dearest Elizabeth, 
Kitty and other friendly people around me, like Claude, and others, 
helped me not to miss my family and friends in India. 

On June 5, 1961, I earned my Masters in Public Health 
degree, which was bestowed upon me by the University of North 
Carolina in Chapel Hill. I was the first Zoroastrian and the second 
student from India to earn this degree, all due to Beloved Baba's 
blessings. After I sent the graduation announcement to Beloved 
Baba, Mani responded: "When your invitation arrived to Baba and 
His court at Guruprasad for yesterday's convocation, your Mum 
and Dad were here and shared it. Your dear letter to Beloved Baba 
was read to him and made Him very happy. Keep feeling His Love 
always for He is always with you. We, too, are proud Najoo dear, 
and share in your happiness and welfare." 

I arrived back in India on August 15, 1961. A letter soon 
arrived from Elizabeth in response to my letter to her. 

She wrote: 

Knowing yon, dear Najoo, has been the real link between the East 
and the West. While Baba is the Universal Magnet for us all, there 
probably have to be His links on lower levels of everyday life such 
as ours. Kitty and I and other Westerners have lived in India among 



104 Finding God In North Carolina 

Baba s people, but you are the first Eastern woman to stay with any 
of us, other than those who came with Baba on His first trip. I am 
glad that you could feel Baba 's atmosphere here at the Center. Let 
us hope we meet again soon. Best to your sister whom I remember 
and your mother and father whom I cannot forget. 

Love to you, 
Elizabeth. 

My visit to the USA and to North and South Carolina 
is imprinted in my memory in golden letters. I appreciate the 
Americans, Europeans and others whom I met such as our very 
dear Will and Mary Backett, Fred Marks, and also my dear sister 
Zilla Talwar, her husband Devraj, and their son Deepak in London. 
My stay has left a beautiful imprint in my head and heart! I 
thank Beloved Baba for this precious opportunity and gift He 
bestowed upon me of going to the West! 

JAI MEHER BABA! 

Najoo attended the 

University of North Carolina in 

Chapel Hill in 1960-61. 

Jerry Levitt 

My wife, Bonnie, and I arrived in North Carolina on Mother's Day 
1973. It had been a little over a year since I had ventured east from 
California to visit one of my oldest friends, Murray. Murray and I 
had gone to high school together, gotten high together through our 
college years and had kept in touch when Bonnie and I decided 
to seek our fortune in the Bay Area, the summer after I graduated 
from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. It was at Madison 
that I had first encountered Meher Baba. 

I remember quite distinctly reading the local alternative 
newspaper and its lengthy article regarding the death of Meher Baba, 
the great Indian sage, guru, and self-described Avatar of the Age. My 
pal Rich, who later died sniffing freon, thought the terminology used 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 105 

in the article was quite amusing. "Oops, I dropped my body!" Rich 
guffawed. I thought it was pretty funny, too, and yet I had a glimmer 
of something important. Shortly thereafter, I had heard more about 
Baba from Murray, who at that time was in school in southern Illi- 
nois, living on a commune and involved in a whole host of activities 
that I found compelling, not the least of which was explaining who 
this guy, Meher Baba, was. 

After two years in California, Bonnie and I were ready to 
get back to the land. Well, actually go there for the first time, as 
both of us were pretty typical suburban kids. We had grown a back- 
yard garden outside our apartment in Madison and had actually 
harvested string beans before we left, but that was about as much 
farming as either of us had ever experienced. We are all firedup 
about creating a self-sufficient homestead and had purchased thirty 
some odd acres directly next to Murray's place in Chatham County, 
not far from Silk Hope. 

The purchase of the land had taken nearly a year, so Murray 
and I had had countless phone conversations about all the great 
things we would do together as we brought the old Hadley farm 
back into production. We would do it all organic and it would really 
be great, really great. 

Upon our arrival, I was surprised to learn that another couple 
was already helping Murray and his wife. Richard was an Air Force 
brat who seemed to know a lot about agriculture and building. In 
short, he was a valuable source of know-how. Everything that I 
knew came from the copious number of books that I had been read- 
ing over the past couple of years, but it was all pretty theoretical. 
The three men worked together building fences for the sheep, pens 
for the turkeys and renovating the old sheds on Murray's place. 
Richard and his wife, Patsy, and Bonnie and I lived together in a 
four-room, no indoor-plumbing, house. It was pretty darn basic, but 
we were all seized by the vision of what is now known as sustain- 
ability and we were having fun. For a while. 

As the summer ensued, Richard and I began to disagree 
about most everything that was on our agenda. Regular arguments 
about how to handle building and farming matters became a daily 



1 06 Finding God In North Carolina 

occurrence. There was plenty to blame each other for. Most of 
the turkeys died, the sheep got out and keeping the soybean field 
free from weeds was proving to be impossible without the aid of 
chemicals. Finally, Murray told me that he was trying to make his 
farm a successful and profitable operation and that he had to make 
a choice. He had to choose which of his friends could help him 
achieve that goal and he had decided that Richard was in and I was 
out. "Jerry, you'd better not come around here anymore." 

I was devastated. My best friend, or so I had thought, was 
kicking me out of his life. Bonnie and I had moved across the 
country so that we could work and live this shared dream that we 
all had and now that was all over. A day or two later, I was visit- 
ing David and Joyce in Chapel Hill and poured my heart out. I 
will never forget Joyce looking at me intently and saying, "You 
have to understand this. Everyone, everything will desert you at 
some point or another in your life. You can have the most perfect 
marriage and live in total happiness your whole life and then, your 
spouse will die. You will have children and they will grow up and 
leave home. Baba, on the other hand, is the perfect friend. He will 
never leave you or cease to love you. All you have to do is to love 
him. That's it. That's all you have to do." 

I had been reading Baba's teachings and had been to the 
Center, so what she said did not come out of the blue and it made 
perfect sense. I felt a great wave of relief come over me. Maybe, Baba 
could offer some relief to the supreme anguish that I was feeling. 

Then, a few days later, I was walking across the field, about 
opposite from where Bonnie and I had pitched our tent. Obviously, 
living with Richard and Patsy was out of the question, so we packed 
up our belongings, pitched our tent and began making plans to 
build a simple shelter on our own land. It was now mid-summer. I 
can't remember if it was particularly hot or not, but I do know that 
a few clouds drifted across the, otherwise, clear and blue sky. My 
sadness and frustration had returned and I was feeling as alone as I 
had ever felt in my life. Alone on the edge of that field, I began to 
cry. After a bit, I said, "Baba, if you are with me, please show me 
somehow. I need you. I need you now." 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 107 

I looked up into the sky looking for some sign and, then 
amazingly, I got it. One of the clouds morphed into a perfect por- 
trait of Meher Baba. This was not just some abstract formation; it 
was Baba. My heart leapt into my mouth and now my tears were 
of joy. My prayer had been answered. It was at that moment that I 
surrendered to Baba. 

Many years have passed since that afternoon. Bonnie and 
I raised two beautiful and talented daughters and then divorced. 
Murray and I reconnected and we have been close ever since. My 
spiritual path has taken some interesting and fulfilling turns. My 
life as a Baba lover is fairly muted. I don't go to gatherings, have 
only been to the Center a handful of times over the past twen- 
ty years and I've yet to go to India. Yet, my heart holds onto Baba 
and it is his name that I hope to be uttering when I leave this life. 

Jerry lives in Chapel Hill. 



Terry McCarthy 

I first saw Meher Baba's name in a section of yoga books in a 
metaphysical library in Virginia Beach about 1991. I read many 
of the books, but saw one of His books and thought I'd read that 
one later. 

Five years later, my friend Julie, who was living out west 
and traveling to different parts of the country, called and left a 
message saying she was going to India. Somehow I had kept in 
touch with her through her travels, though I would not hear from 
her for long periods. I called her to say I was glad she was going to 
India, but she did not tell me why she went until after she returned 
to the States, several months later. Then she told me she had gone 
to visit Meher Baba's tomb and spend time with His remaining 
close disciples. I didn't think too much more about it, though I was 
impressed that Julie thought Baba was the Avatar. 

Several months later Julie made a second trip to India. She 
sent me a letter and some incense and a Baba card: "Learn to love 



1 08 Finding God In North Carolina 

God by loving those you cannot love." I put the card on my dresser 
and rationed the incense: it was the best I'd ever smelled! 

The following year, 1997, Julie moved back to the East 
Coast. I had been reading about Meher Baba on the World Wide 
Web, still not quite sure what to think of Him. I know He had an 
effect on me, that I liked to go to the pages and see His picture and 
writings. Julie called me from Virginia Beach and invited me to 
join her for a visit to the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach. 

The two of us drove to the Center from Chapel Hill, our 
conversation centering on Julie's experiences in India and Meher 
Baba. I knew I had feelings for Baba. I hoped I would be guided 
in what to do. We arrived at the Center just in time to unpack and 
attend an evening music program. It was a sitarist who played clas- 
sical Indian music as well as Indian folk music. One song about 
'beauty and longing' evoked a bittersweet emotional feeling in me. 
I spent a little time in the Lagoon Cabin before retiring. Though it 
was strange to see a roped chair, I felt very peaceful. 

The next morning I decided to visit the Library at the 
Center to learn more of Meher 's words. Looking through the 
books, I chose the Discourses, sat down, and began to read from 
where I had opened haphazardly. I don't remember specifically 
what the reading was about, but it had to do with obedience to the 
Master. I thought how strict it was and despaired of ever being able 
to live up to what Meher Baba seemed to be asking of one who 
would follow Him. I felt terribly heavy with disappointment and 
anxiety when I finally laid the book down. I felt it was hopeless 
to aspire to be Meher 's follower - how could I ever hope to please 
such a strict master? 

Dejected, I walked toward the door, but stopped to look 
at a stack of Baba magazines. I looked at one, thinking, "What's 
the use of even looking at this, I could never do what He asks." 
I turned over the magazine I held and my eyes went to the bot- 
tom of the page, "The Prayer For Baba's Lovers." By the time I 
read the line "and help us all to hold fast to Baba's daaman till 
the very end," I was weeping, even though I had no idea what a 
daaman was! 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 09 

As I left the library and walked the path to the lake, I wept 
and thought of my spiritual life until that day. I thought of myself 
as a person very concerned with spiritual ideals, yet I had never 
taken a spiritual retreat before now. I felt very sad that I did not 
have the deep spiritual feelings that I'd had as a child (in third 
grade I wanted to be a priest). 

I sat on the bench outside the Original Kitchen, sniffling 
and feeling so much that I'd kept deep within me since my child- 
hood. Julie walked by on the path and said, "How's it going Ter?" I 
looked at her through my tears and said, "Not so good!" When she 
asked if I wanted company I said, "Yes, sit down, I'll tell you what 
happened." So as I came to the end of my story I said, "And I don't 
feel so sad as much as this tremendous feeling of LONGING!" "Oh 
Ter, I just knew you'd catch on quick!" Julie said, with her light, 
joyful enthusiasm. 

Later in the visit, a Baba lover I met from Chapel Hill 
explained 'daaman'. I felt like something had shifted in my body and 
spirit by the end of the visit. Arriving back at work the next week, I 
experienced this incredible longing to go to India. It was so strong 
it kind of scared me. I didn't go immediately but continued to feel 
Baba's guidance and presence more and more. And though I don't 
know how, I still long to hold onto His daaman to the very end. 

The four hour drive from the Meher Center back to Chapel 
Hill was filled with my questions and with Julie telling stories about 
India. She was with Baba's close disciples, the Mandali and visiting 
Meher Baba's tomb everyday. 

When I was home a few days I was alarmed about how 
much I wanted to go to India. I had barely been out of the United 
States. I had fleeting dreams of going to India after reading Autobi- 
ography Of A Yogi, but had no plan or call to go through with such 
a long trip. Now, if someone handed me a plane ticket, I would 
have walked to the plane to depart without even calling anyone to 
say I was leaving! At times it felt like the longing I experienced at 
the Meher Center. I told myself to get a grip, that maybe I would 
go someday. I should be more sensible about it. It took two years 
and Baba's grace for me to go to India. 



110 Finding God In North Carolina 

Over the next few weeks, the intense feelings I had at the 
Center and about India faded. I talked to my friend Jean about 
Baba. She gave me the book, How a Master Works. What have I 
got myself into? I thought, / am not looking for a master, I want my 
life to be easy, fun and playful! These people in the books would 
do anything for Baba, how could I ever live up to this standard! 
But part of me wanted to try and I had fantasies of giving up all 
for Baba. As weeks passed, I let go of thinking so much about how 
to follow Baba and kept his picture near my bed. A couple months 
after my Meher Spiritual Center visit I had this dream: 

We were making a movie about Meher Baba 's life. I was the 
assistant to the actor playing Baba. During filming he was silent, 
making gestures and using the board. When he was off camera 
he would talk to me, laugh and joke around. One scene was in 
front of a wrought iron fence with a stylized harp built into the 
bars. The scene played out next to the harp with the Baba actor 
silently communicating with people. At one point break, he caught 
my eye meaningfully. He moved his fingers toward the harp as the 
iron strings moved and made music. Apparently no one else saw 
this and He gave me a wink. I wondered how he did this trick. I 
thought, hmmm... this guy looks so much like Baba, it's uncanny. 
He winked at me again like I was in on the secret. 

I woke up feeling wonderful. Jean told me later that any 
dream of Baba is a vision, more real than a dream. I was thankful 
for a God who can be so playful with me. 

In Baba's Womb 

Months later I had stopped reading about Baba and was not think- 
ing much about him. I met a woman at a party and arranged to meet 
her for dinner. She was interesting and attractive, but much younger 
than I. I figured this would be just a friendly dinner. We talked for 
hours and ended up walking in the woods at midnight and kiss- 
ing. I was flabbergasted! Within a couple weeks, against my better 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 1 1 

judgement, I had intense feelings for her. A relationship between 
us did not seem workable. She told me about a poetry reading by 
Coleman Barks so I met her there. Coleman read his translations 
of Rumi about awakening and soul friendship with a divine mas- 
ter who leaves and awakens longing. Listening to the passionate 
poems, stories and music reawakened my longing and ecstasy for 
Meher Baba, the Beloved, the 'Friend'. I felt my heart open and my 
mind swimming with intoxication of mystical divine love. 

Days afterward I noticed my woman friend becoming more 
reserved toward me. She was very busy and could not find time to 
see me. When we met again she said she did not want to see me 
exclusively, I took this as the end. This was not a surprise, yet I felt 
my heart break over the next few days with so much sadness and 
anger. All this over someone I'd gone out with three times in three 
weeks! Something told me these feelings were not a just about her. 

The grief was with me for weeks. I would tear up at love 
songs in the car. Driving home from Raleigh one night, I broke 
down and sobbed all the way home. I felt terrible and called my 
friend Elizabeth at home. She suggested I do some breathwork and 
nurture myself. I got into a hot bath with no one else at home and 
breathed deeply. I cried, yelled and breathed as the feelings of grief 
and anger came washing through my body. 

Suddenly I was inside Baba's body, like a fetus in his 
womb. I felt sweet mothering love bathing me like warm water. 
I felt Baba's unconditional loving acceptance. I became calm and 
floated in His belly for a long time. When I got up from the bath, 
I felt an amazing sense of warm oneness. My pain had turned to a 
glow of love and peace. I was thankful to feel Baba's love so deeply 
in my body, even thankful for the mysterious broken hearted pain 
that allowed me to feel His amazing love. 

Unstoppable Train 

A few more months rolled by without much contact with people 
who knew about Meher Baba. They had lots of meetings in Chapel 
Hill where I lived. I did not go because I thought I was not a worthy 



112 Finding God In North Carolina 

disciple. I realized later that Baba helped me through my rebellious 
relationship with my Roman Catholic upbringing. As a 'new age' 
adult I hated that phrase in the Mass, "I am not worthy to receive you, 
but only say the word and I shall be healed." But my heart wanted to 
be "worthy of union with you" So I would need help 'to hold fast to 
Baba's Daaman until the very end". Say the word indeed. 

I heard from Jean that there was a gathering for Amartithi 
at a home in Chapel Hill. She invited me and mentioned a visiting 
singer would play. 

When I arrived at my first Baba meeting on January 31, 
1998, the living room was crowded with people watching a video 
about Baba. People smiled at me and made a place for me to squeeze 
into on the floor. Soon the musician, Caris Arkin, was introduced. 
He talked about being in India at Amartithi and the beauty of all the 
people coming to celebrate Meher Baba. Sitting on the floor with 
these folks, with the gentle loving energy of the room, I pictured 
being in a crowd focused on Baba. Caris played his song, Unstop- 
pable Train and his mysterious words reawakened my feelings for 
beauty and my longing. I felt Baba was speaking to me: 

Somehow I know that I realize how 

Everything seems so incredible now 

Paradise must be inside of you 

That has to be true, 'cause I'm always thinking 

There s a reflection that I can sustain 

As I ride on this unstoppable train 

Give me a sign 

Say when it's time to come home. 

Suddenly the scene returns to me 

I was there when they brought the man down 

And everyone was singing 

Somber looking faces 

All standing in a line 

Waiting for a chance to clear their slate with the divine. 

That's mv destination 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 113 

That 's your final stop 

You don 't have a say in this! 

. . . .Orders fi'om the Top. 

Somehow I know that I realize how 

Everything seems so incredible now 

Paradise can only be inside you 

That has to be true 

'Cause I'm always thinking 

There s a reflection that I can sustain 

As I ride on this Unstoppable Train... 

Give me a sign 

Say when it 's time to come HOME! 

As I realized I was on that train, I dissolved into grateful 
tears. I know that He will give me a sign and tell me it's time to 
come home. 

Terry lives in Chapel Hill. 



Jean McKinney 

I can't pinpoint the moment I came to Baba. As a child I went to 
church regularly and Jesus has always been real to me. As an adult, 
I put church aside and became involved in yoga and therapy. The 
first time I heard Meher Baba's name was when I was working with 
a peer counseling service on the University of North Carolina cam- 
pus in Chapel Hill. Stacy Miller, who worked in the same service, 
wore a Baba pendant around her neck. I asked her who it was and 
she told me, but His name didn't mean anything to me at the time. 
Later, I went to Washington, D.C. to spend a week with a 
friend. Toward the end of my visit, I met a man with whom I imme- 
diately fell deeply in love. My heart was opened like nothing I had 
experienced before. Without preaching or proselytizing, he men- 
tioned he was a follower of Meher Baba. At the house where he was 



114 Finding God In North Carolina 

staying hung a tremendous painting of Baba surrounded by lots and 
lots of roses. There were many other Baba pictures too. My friend 
merely explained that the man in the pictures was Meher Baba. The 
romance didn't last veiy long - only a couple of months or so, but 
I was heartbroken when it ended. My friend had told me about the 
Myrtle Beach Center and I was interested in going, so I wrote to 
Kitty Davy (the head of the Center) for permission to come. Kitty 
replied, asking if I had used any drugs during the past years. I'd never 
been a big drug user, but it so happened that during the previous year 
someone had offered to share a joint in a social situation, and I had 
accepted it. In all honesty I mentioned the incident to Kitty. "You 
must wait six months to visit the Center," was her answer. I knew 
what this was about - separating my devotion to my friend from my 
devotion to Baba. I could easily have gone to the Center thinking, 
I'm going to go to the Center for this man and then he 'II love me. 

During the six month wait, I started going to local Baba 
meetings. Meanwhile, I began inwardly to separate my love for 
Baba and my love for my friend. Finally, I spent the week of Baba's 
birthday at the Center. 

That year, 1982, Charles Haynes gave a talk in Chapel Hill 
and I immediately liked him and what he had to say. After his 
talk, I had a dream in which there was an announcement on the 
radio that Meher Baba had died and that all of his lovers would be 
going to India for his burial. In the dream I said: "Oh, I'm going 
to India!" I woke up with same words running through my mind: 
I'm going to India! 

I began making plans to go, even though I didn't have the 
money. Since I was a state employee, I talked with someone about 
borrowing against my retirement account. I learned, however, that I 
couldn't do this if I was planning to quit my job, and I had indeed 
planned to quit before the trip. The person in the credit union loan 
department whom I asked for advice said, "I'm sorry. I can't give you 
a loan." But he listened to me awhile longer and as I talked I kept ask- 
ing myself how I could make this work. Then the man said, "If you 
come back and talk with somebody else, and don't say you're going to 
quit, then you'll get your loan." I thanked him and thanked Baba too. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 115 

A few days later I returned. The same man was working there, 
but he deliberately ignored me. When I talked to a second loan officer, 
I didn't mention that I planned to quit my job, and I got the loan. 

Everything was falling into place. I felt Baba sweeping me 
along as I held tightly to His coattails. He provided fireworks for 
the trip - the day I left New York City was July 4, 1982! I could 
look out the window in the plane and see colorful, wonderful fire- 
works exploding in the night sky. It felt like it was my birthday as 
well as the country's birthday. Baba, it seemed, was celebrating the 
trip right along with me. 

Jean lives in Chapel Hill 



Sharon and Harry Muir (Written by Harry) 

I guess we never really know when these stories begin. Maybe we 
should just call them "When I found out Baba was working on me" 
stories rather than "How I found Baba." That's clearly what hap- 
pened here. And with all stories this is the best remembrance we 
currently have — time edits and adds, but nearly forty years later 
we are still in His embrace. 

Sharon first remembers seeing Baba's name in the spring of 
1967. She was living in Chapel Hill dividing her time between the 
drug scene, civil rights, political activity aimed at stopping the war 
in Vietnam and keeping my spirits up. I had just begun serving a 
five-year prison term in Leavenworth as a conscientious objector. 

Actually what Sharon saw was a poster tacked to a pole 
with a border that read BABA MEHER BABA MEHER BABA 
MEHER BABA MEHER BABA MEHER BABA MEHER. She 
had no idea what that meant but remembers reading it several 
times. This must have advertised Rick Chapman's up-coming 
talk in Chapel Hill, but none of the people who attended that talk 
remember seeing a poster of this design. 

That weekend Sharon went to visit her grandfather who 
lived in Myrtle Beach. She hitched a ride with two friends unaware 



116 Finding God In North Carolina 

that there had been a Klu Klux Klan rally in the area the night 
before. When the police saw a white woman, a black man and 
a teenager with long hair driving a fairly new car, they stopped 
the car and took the suspicious looking occupants to the station 
for questioning. To put their situation in perspective, this was the 
same American south where black men were still hung for looking 
at a white woman, students from 'up north' had been killed while 
conducting voter registration drives and folks sometimes simply 
disappeared without a trace. Sharon and her friends had good rea- 
son to be afraid. 

Desperate to let someone know where she was, Sharon 
was able to call an old friend and acquaintance from the drug 
scene who had recently moved to Myrtle Beach, Marshall Hay. 
Marshall's advice seemed pretty useless to someone who thought 
her life was in danger or, at the very least, expected a long inter- 
rogation: "Meet me at Mammy's Kitchen restaurant in a half 
hour." But these stories are never completely logical. Sharon 
and her friends were released, told to get out of town and never 
come back, and reached Mammy's Kitchen just in time. Marshall 
led this motley crew up the beach to a wooded area and down a 
dirt road to a group of cabins overlooking a lake separated from 
the ocean by a line of dunes. This was Sharon's first visit to the 
Myrtle Beach Center. 

Kitty Davy was in the Original Kitchen where she had 
just administered an antidote to a child who had swallowed some 
cleaning supplies. She welcomed Sharon and her friends, gave her 
a copy of Sparks and went back to work. 

Sharon spent the afternoon reading Sparks, looking at a 
photo of Baba sitting in a chair (that used to be in the Kitchen), 
walking the beach and sitting in the Lagoon cabin. About sunset 
Kitty told them it was time to leave. By then Baba had given Sharon 
a glimpse of WHO HE WAS - which took her to an emotional state 
of ecstasy. Sharon left the center with the copy of Sparks which 
had a picture of Baba inside the front cover. When she looked at 
the picture, she thought that the God-Man couldn't possibly move 
beyond the pose in the picture due to his infinite 'beyond the reach 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 1 7 

of imagination' state. It was several weeks before this latter 
misconception was corrected and to this day she laughs at herself 
every time she sees home movies of God. 

Meanwhile, Rick Chapman was talking in Chapel Hill. 
Later Baba said that He gave His Darshan there at Rick's talk that 
night. Sharon got back to Chapel Hill bursting over with the need 
to tell her friends what had happened. She arrived at the local crash 
pad about the same time that some others returned from Rick's 
talk. The energy level in that room was incredible. Sharon was 
barely able to communicate in her state of euphoria that God was 
in human form! 

In the wee hours of the morning, several carloads of peo- 
ple left for the Center. Years later Kitty commented that she and 
Elizabeth awoke to find a bunch of hippies sitting in the front yard 
of Dilruba. They didn't know what to think. Baba had always said 
that people would flock to the Center, but not that they would look 
so strange. 

The next dilemma Sharon faced was how to tell me that 
Jesus was back. Her first attempt was a really strange letter that 
I was convinced was code for 'eat this letter'. In one of our last 
meetings before I went to prison she had promised to soak the 
corner of some letters with LSD before sending them and I was 
convinced that this must be the letter I was waiting for. It is a 
literal truth that the first time I saw Baba's name I ate it. Nothing 
happened. 

Fortunately, Sharon had asked Jane Haynes for help. 
The next day I opened up a letter which contained a brief note: 
"Sharon asked me to send this, Jai Baba," and a copy of the Uni- 
versal Message. Sharon was not about to let go of her only photo 
of Baba. 

In the early 60 's I was profoundly influenced by Malcolm 
Boyd's book, Are You Running With Me, Jesus'? in which he showed 
me a view of prayer that was much more a life long conversation 
with Jesus than an isolated event involving ritual words. For quite 
some time this ongoing dialogue with Jesus had been a part of 
my life - through my decision to confront the military over the 



118 Finding God In North Carolina 

morality of the Vietnam War, my subsequent arrest and trial, and 
now my somewhat monastic life in a federal prison. Somewhere 
along the way I had given Jesus a face that I could see clearly when 
I talked to Him. I knew exactly what He looked like. It did amuse 
me that the face I saw was too old, too round and far too happy 
to fit the image I learned in Sunday school, but it wasn't a face I 
needed to share with anyone. 

When I opened the Universal Message, I saw Jesus' pho- 
tograph. The funny thing is that I don't remember the experience 
as being particularly profound. My best friend had always said He 
was coming back and here He was. It didn't surprise me that He 
kept His promise. 

Anyway, that was the beginning of our life with Baba. A 
little later, in November, 1 967, my conviction was overturned and 
I was released after serving eleven months of my five-year sen- 
tence. I guess Baba figured there was no point in my staying there 
after I had done what I needed to do. 

Sharon was driving out to pick me up in Kansas when I 
was released from prison, but our plans were changed when her 
Volkswagen collided with a big Lincoln. She wasn't badly hurt, 
but she was still using a cane when we were married later that 
December. Lyn Ott gave her away so there were lots of comments 
about the blind leading the lame, but that's another story. 

On Christmas Day we left the Center for San Antonio. I 
was still in the military. When my conviction was overturned I 
was released from prison and my Dishonorable Discharge was also 
reversed. I had agreed to report for duty at Fort Sam Houston if I 
was allowed to resign for the good of the service as soon as I got 
there. Anyway, we got to San Antonio, located a small duplex, told 
a small group of people we met that Baba was God, invited them 
for supper and had our first San Antonio Baba Meeting the follow- 
ing Monday night. 

As luck would have it (and we all know what that means) 
our telephone was installed about an hour before that meeting. 
As our guests were waiting to get started, the phone rang. It was 
Western Union with a telegram for Sharon from Baba: 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 1 9 




:jjes a LOCAL TTMBw point of origin. Time of receipt is LOCAL TIME^it point of .kiiui«i 



104UA GST DEO 27 67 NSC056 AB11? 5 '" 

A HHA015 DL PO MYRTLE BEACH SOCAR 2? 1132A EST 
SHARON HARMON- ^OShJ^tu^M. >4*~ 

CARE HARRY MUIR U^A.^^^a^^S^^sm^rmmmfU^^F&X. 
FOLLOWING CABLE RECEIVED. FROM INDIA QUOTE JUST AS YOU ARE SHARING 
A BIT OF MY SUFFERING ONE DAY YOU WILL SHARE MY BLISS BY LOVING 
ME MORE AND MORE SIGNED MEHERBABA IN SECLUSION UNQUOTE LOVE 

ELIZABETH KITTY 

(35). ' 



Baba's telegram to Sharon 

Just as you are sharing in my suffering you will one day 
share in my bliss by loving me more and more. Meher Baba 

None of our friends back in the Carolinas knew our address 
at this time so it was a bit of a mystery as to how that telegram was 
delivered. 

We called Kitty and Elizabeth to let them know about the 
telegram and were told that we should reply to the telegram with 
a paid-reply so that Baba could use the reply to send a telegram to 
someone else. This gave Sharon the opportunity to ask Baba a ques- 
tion His telegram raised in her mind, "How does one love you more 
and more?" She felt love was something like being pregnant - either 
you did love or you didn't. A few days later Baba replied: 

Your very question proves you are capable of loving Me 
more and more by thinking of me more and more often. Signed 
Meher Baba in seclusion. 

A week or so later Baba decided that we had done what we 
needed to do in San Antonio and expedited my discharge - from a 
predicted six months, to six days. By the end of January 1968 we 
were back in Chapel Hill. 



1 20 Finding God In North Carolina 



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TOUR VERT QUESTION PROVES THAT, YOU ARE CAPABLE OF LOVINQ HE MORE 

®JD MORE BY THINKING OF ME Wm, AND MORE OFTEN 

MEHERBABA INSECLUSION 
COL 202 13 



Baba's second telegram to Sharon 

Sharon and Harry lived in Chapel Hill in the 1960's and 
later lived for many years in Bath, North Carolina. They now 
reside in India. 



Nick Principe 

I remember very vividly, when I was about ten years old, I would 
think how unfortunate I was that I had been born after Jesus's time. 
I wanted to be with Him. It is as fresh to me now as it was more 
than 50 years ago. 

Anyway, in 1968 I was living in Florida where I had the 
opportunity to rent a house on the beach and turn it into a hairstyl- 
ing salon. When the landlord took me on a tour, I became aware 
that there was not one piece of movable furniture, lamps, or any 
other piece of decoration, except for a built in bookcase where 
there was a photo of Baba, with a message on the bottom: I have 
one message to give age after age, and that is to Love God. 

My inquiries about the photo were fruitless, and till this 
day, I have no idea how it got there. From that moment on I knew 
that that was to be my life's journey. 

Nick lives in Chapel Hill. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 121 



Betty Prioux 

The tarot reader sitting across the table looked up at me over the 
card spread, puzzled. I had asked her what work I should be doing. 
Not work to pay the bills, but personal work that would be good 
for me to do. Jan looked down at the cards and looked up at me, 
saying, "Write, write about your own truths and how you got to 
them." Then, when she looked down at the cards for more insight, 
that puzzled look spread over her face. 

"Tricked... Tm getting the word 'tricked'... into something 
spiritual." She looked up at me, disturbed and confused. She didn't 
understand why she would get the word 'tricked' along with truth 
and something spiritual. 

I smiled at her and burst out laughing. I got the rest of the 
phrase: "Into love... tricked into love." It was a message from my 
jokester Indian guru. I'd been tricked into love earlier this year, by 
a private joke that took twenty-five years to reach its punchline. 
The jokester 's message was that it was time to write that story. So 
here it is. 

About twenty-five years ago (about 1981), when I was a 
sophomore in college in Lafayette, Louisiana, I met my friend 
Melanie. We were introduced by two mutual friends: Nell, my 
songwriting partner who had competed against Melanie in speech 
tournaments while they were in high school, and Judi, with whom 
Melanie had performed in an experimental on-campus play I loved 
that wove together poetry and prose about the many facets of wom- 
en's lives. 

Melanie and I shared a room in an old dormitory, the Baker 
side of the Baker-Huger women's residence hall, for about a year. 
Then we lived with other roommates, and alone for one summer, 
about two blocks off campus, on the top floor of an old drafty 
white-and-black two-story house owned by Miss Dee, who was 
originally from my small hometown of Loreauville and whose 
very successful electrolysis business downstairs was regularly 
audible through our stereo system via the house's ancient electri- 
cal wiring. 



122 Finding God In North Carolina 

Melanie scared me early in our friendship. She had a stub- 
bom dark streak that sometimes clashed strongly with my Pollyanna 
sunny disposition. I still remember the semester she put a photo of 
one of her professors in the middle of a dartboard in our dormitory 
room, and how she loved throwing darts at the face in the middle 
of that dartboard. She had an excellent reason for throwing darts at 
that professor's photograph, but I found it disturbing. 

Several years later, Melanie became a follower of 
Muktananda, an eastern Indian guru. I was very interested in spiri- 
tual teachers, so I went with her a few times to a meditation center 
in Houston, Texas. We sat and chanted Om Nama Shivaya - 1 bow 
to the god within me - for hours there. I enjoyed it. I supported my 
friend Melanie in her choice of an Eastern teacher as her spiritual 
master. I read some of his books. I watched Melanie's stubborn 
dark streak lighten up, and saw that she was making peace with 
herself and her life. My dear friend had an Indian guru, and that 
was okay with me. I was an interested observer for years. 

Then, seventeen years later, about eight years ago (1999), I 
met my friend Cindy. She sang first soprano in the women's chorus 
in which I sang second alto, then first soprano, and finally second 
soprano. An experienced pianist and instructor, Cindy also helped 
the chorus director teach us the music. 

As I watched Cindy teach during our sectional rehearsals, 
I realized that she approached teaching with tremendous respect 
for everyone, from musical novice to trained musician. Respect 
for others is one of my personal guiding principles. The more I 
watched Cindy's consistent manifestation of respect in those 
rehearsals, the more I thought I'd enjoy a friendship with her if we 
could make the time in our busy lives to cultivate one. I sent her a 
lunch invitation by email, she accepted, and we began meeting and 
talking and becoming friends. 

Early in our friendship, Cindy and I found that we were 
both spiritual seekers. We discussed the spiritual books we'd read, 
the ideas we'd come across, and the truths we'd encountered. One 
day, Cindy told me about Meher Baba, an eastern Indian spiri- 
tual master she followed. Ah, another friend with an Indian guru! I 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 123 

talked with her about Meher Baba and read some of her books by 
and about him. My dear friend had an Indian guru, and that was 
okay with me. I was an interested observer for years, again. 

At one point, Cindy told me that Meher Baba had estab- 
lished a retreat center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the Meher 
Spiritual Center, in the 1940's. Myrtle Beach is close to where we 
live, an easy three-hour drive from the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel 
Hill area of North Carolina. She told me about the many times 
she'd visited the Center, about the quiet and peace there, and about 
how much restful sleep she experienced there. It sounded like a 
perfect place to revive one's body and spirit. 

Anyone with an interest in Meher Baba can visit and 
stay there, she explained. All you have to do is write a letter to 
the Center explaining why you want to visit and your interest 
in Meher Baba. For years after that day, every once in a while, 
we discussed going there together sometime.Finally, seven years 
after our friendship began, I told Cindy it was time for me to visit 
the Center with her. I studied the Meher Spiritual Center website, 
and wrote and sent them my letter explaining why I wanted to 
visit and my interest in Meher Baba. Cindy made our reservation 
for a weekend in April of 2003. 

Why, after years of talking about Meher Baba with Cindy, 
did I finally decide it was time to go to the Center in Myrtle 
Beach? There were so many reasons. Months of stress around my 
16-year-old stepson's emotional problems were at the top of the 
list. Increasing pressure at work was also on the list. And, underly- 
ing it all, I felt a spiritual emptiness. I needed some quiet and time 
away from everything and everyone to sit with my emptiness and 
understand what was really there. I hadn't been able to meditate 
easily for years. I thought a retreat center that demanded nothing 
but an interest in personal spiritual growth would give me space to 
see what I needed to recover peace in my life. 

Finally, one Friday afternoon in late April, we drove 
through constant rainfall from our homes in North Carolina to the 
Meher Spiritual Center, arriving in Myrtle Beach around 5:30 in 
the evening. We picked up keys and a Center map at the Gateway 



1 24 Finding God In North Carolina 

entry house, drove to the nearby Bi-Lo grocery store for food and 
coffee filters, then drove to the Cove 2 cabin to unload our luggage 
and groceries. 

In the early evening, after we settled into the cabin, Cindy 
showed me around the Center. As we walked the paths through the 
virgin forest on the property, she told me that there were several 
buildings maintained as they were when Baba last visited in 1958, 
buildings where silence is observed in memory of the silence Baba 
maintained during the last 43 years of his life. She took me to one of 
those silent buildings that Friday evening, to the Lagoon Cabin where 
Meher Baba received visitors during his time in Myrtle Beach. 

We stopped at the door of the Lagoon Cabin and took off 
our shoes. Cindy opened the screen door and entered, and I fol- 
lowed. She walked over to a sofa directly in front of the roped-off 
seat that had been Meher Baba's and sat. I plopped into a chair to 
the left of the door, with a side view of Meher Baba's seat, and 
closed my eyes to meditate. 

To my great surprise, I slipped immediately into deep medita- 
tion. The quiet was dense in my mind, like a thick syrup. I remember 
words trying unsuccessfully to form in this syrup, struggling to push 
up to my conscious mind. My meditations before this time always 
involved some effort to quiet my mind's chatter. But in this medita- 
tion, in this cabin, I needed to make no effort to quiet the chatter. 
Contrary to all of my previous meditation experiences, it took an 
effort to manifest words in my mind, and I simply didn't make the 
effort.That was the first gift of the weekend, on Friday evening: A 
deep effortless meditation. I had not felt something so calm and deep 
in a long, long time. Since this was my first visit to the Center, the 
staff invited me to go on an 11:00am tour of the place on Saturday, 
the day after we arrived. Despite her decade of visits to the Center, 
Cindy had never gone on a tour. So, right before 11:00 am on 
Saturday, both of us were sitting on a bench overlooking a freshwater 
inlet, quietly talking and waiting for our tour guide. 

Thunder rolled in the distance as we talked. Suddenly, a 
deafening thunderclap sounded just behind us. Cindy and I bolted 
out of our seats and turned back to look at the sky, Cindy saying, 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 125 

"Did you see that flash?" People poured out of nearby buildings 
to see what had happened. The sky calmed immediately after that; 
there was no more nearby loud thunder. 

That was the second gift of the weekend, on Saturday: The 
thunder. I have long thought of the lightning that precedes thunder 
as a physical manifestation of how creativity can strike your heart 
and mind with a blinding flash of divine inspiration. That thunder- 
clap felt like an auspicious good omen and a blessing. 

Later that Saturday, Cindy told me that the house Meher 
Baba lived in while in Myrtle Beach is open for tours starting at 
11:00 am on Sundays. "After that," she said, "around 12:00 noon, 
there's an open house a short walk away at Dilruba, the Center 
office building that was the home of Elizabeth Patterson, a fol- 
lower of Meher Baba who was instrumental in establishing the 
Center and in His work in the United States." We agreed to go to 
the house tour and the open house on Sunday. 

Before 11:00 am on Sunday, we walked the short forest 
path from our cabin to Meher Baba's home. After taking our shoes 
off on the covered screened porch, we went into the living room 
and met the guide for the tour. Stella was a lively woman, perhaps 
in her 60's, with laughing eyes and a delightfully warm and wel- 
coming spirit. 

Stella walked and talked us through the modest house, 
through the living room, the kitchen, and the two small bedrooms 
used by the mandali, the male disciples who shared the house 
with Meher Baba and attended to his needs. Stella had met Meher 
Baba at the Center during his visits, and told us many stories about 
Meher Baba's time at the Center and about his trips in the United 
States. Our group of six people asked lots of questions, shared 
details about the Meher Baba stories we'd read and heard, and 
laughed a lot. 

In the last room of the tour, one of the mandali bedrooms, 
I asked Stella in which rooms of the house we were supposed to 
observe silence. Her eyes twinkled as she said, "We're supposed to 
be silent in the whole house, but Baba loved jokes and laughter so 
much, I don't think he minds us talking and laughing in here." 



1 26 Finding God In North Carolina 

There was one more room to visit after the tour ended, 
a room in which silence was maintained: the bedroom used by 
Meher Baba when he stayed at the Center. I walked out of the man- 
dali bedroom, across the hallway, and opened the partially closed 
door to the small bedroom. Cindy was there already, at the side of 
the small twin bed. There were other people sitting on the floor and 
in a chair or two in the room. I walked in and sat on the floor near 
the foot of the bed, cross-legged, expecting another deep medita- 
tion experience. 

What happened next took me by complete surprise. I started 
weeping. It felt like weeping, although there weren't many tears 
running down my cheeks. My heart felt as though it were cracking 
open. A simple prayer I've said almost daily for most of my life 
started sounding inside me, now addressed directly to Baba instead 
of to the more abstract 'God' I usually talked with: "Baba, take my 
day, take my life. Help me do the right thing with every step I take, 
and help me help others do their right thing with every step they 
take." The words came involuntarily. And I couldn't stop crying. 
Sitting there on the floor, 1 bowed my head and put my hands up 
against my forehead to hide my eyes. I didn't want anyone to see 
this. I didn't know what was happening. I was amazed and grate- 
ful, and a little afraid. 

Slowly, I began to realize that this was what I'd been pray- 
ing for all of my life: a real, deep, personal experience of love, of 
God. Love, strong and swift, flooded into me from my head down, 
a vast torrential waterfall tumbling down into my body and spilling 
outward from my heart. 

I don't know how long I sat like this. Finally I stopped cry- 
ing and looked up. I felt and heard the words, "Thank you, thank 
you, Baba," sound inside of me. I bowed my head in gratitude to 
the photograph of Baba smiling down from above the head of the 
small twin bed. Then I stood up and left the room to find Cindy, 
who had already made her way out. 

On the way out of Baba's house, in the living room, I 
stopped to thank Stella for her time and stories. On the screened 
porch outside, I sat and put on my shoes. I left the porch out of a 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 27 

side door and walked into a small garden on the side of the house. 
The freshwater inlet and marsh grass off in the distance beyond the 
garden, sparkling in the bright sunlight, caught my eye. I stopped 
and looked at the garden, and beyond it to the water and grass, 
breathing in their brilliant energy. Then, off to the left and away 
from the house, I saw Cindy sitting on a bench overlooking the 
water, her back to me, reading a book she had borrowed from the 
Center library. 

I walked towards Cindy, calm and smiling. Then, as I 
rounded the last large bush before the clearing where she was 
seated, I felt tears on my cheeks again. I stopped, automatically, 
instinctively, not wanting Cindy to see my tears. Almost immedi- 
ately, another thought came to mind, How you hide your deepest 
feelings, even from people you love like Cindy... isn't it time to just 
let all of that hiding go? I took a deep breath, walked rounded the 
bush, and looked down at Cindy, with a smile and a big tear trail- 
ing down my cheek. She looked up at me and smiled back. We said 
nothing. I sat down to her right. She looked back to her book, and 
put her arm behind me on the bench, gently rubbing my back while 
I looked out at the water and let my tears run their course again. 

That was the first gift of Sunday: the completely unex- 
pected cracking open of my heart, and the completely unexpected 
full force of love pouring into and out of my body. I knew, finally, 
what it felt like to be flooded with the real power of love. 

After she finished the passage she was reading, Cindy and I 
smiled at one another and then stood up to walk to the open house 
at Dilruba. I didn't talk much about what I felt. I had no words 
to describe it. During our walk, Cindy said that she had had the 
thought, Oh, yeah, Betty 's a Baba lover. While I wasn't comfortable 
with the phrase 'Baba lover', that seemed like an accurate way to 
describe what was happening to me. 

The walk from Baba's house to Dilruba didn't take much 
time. Many people, some from their own Center retreats like us 
and a good number of local residents, were drinking coffee and tea 
and eating cookies. We helped ourselves to herbal tea and talked 
with a few people. Then a couple approached us, a woman and 



1 28 Finding God In North Carolina 

man perhaps our age, perhaps just a bit older than our 46 years. 
These warm and friendly people introduced themselves as Wendy 
and Buz Conner. They asked us about ourselves. Cindy explained 
that this was my first visit to the Center, and that she had been visit- 
ing there for many years. She talked about her work as a training 
designer and instructor, and I talked about my work as a technical 
writer. We also talked about our volunteer work with the women's 
chorus back home, which Cindy now directs and in which I still 
sing. We found out that Buz was a singer and had recorded CDs, 
and that Wendy had done technical computer writing at one time. 

During our conversation, Wendy mentioned that her mother 
was Jane Haynes. Cindy recognized the name, explaining to me 
that Jane was one of Baba's followers who had written a book 
about her experiences with Him. Cindy asked Wendy a question 
about her mother. Wendy answered, and then continued telling us 
wonderful story after wonderful story about her mother and Baba, 
and about the time she and her mother spent with Baba in India. 

While Wendy talked about her mother and Baba, I felt the 
huge flood of love that was still pouring into me direct itself to 
Wendy. It felt as though Baba were sending love and blessings 
straight to his beloved Wendy through me. Wendy sensed this 
strongly, from both me and Cindy, because she said several times 
that she felt deep love coming from us to her. It was so real and 
tangible, this torrential Mississippi River of love, absolutely solid 
and infinitely powerful. As I sat and enjoyed Wendy's stories, I 
also marveled at the strong current of love pouring through me 
towards her. 

One of the wonderful stories Wendy told us was about her 
mother's first experience at the Center. Jane was directing a play 
at the Myrtle Beach theater. A car arrived at the theater to pick up 
an actress to go and meet Meher Baba. The actress didn't show up, 
and somehow Jane was talked into the car to go and meet Baba in 
place of her. Wendy said her mother burst into tears in the car when 
she realized that Meher Baba was the man who had appeared to her 
in dreams. Wendy also told us that Elizabeth Patterson, who was 
in the car, was used to people weeping about Meher Baba, and that 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 29 

Elizabeth sat graciously and quietly in the car with Jane until her 
tears were exhausted. The story reminded me of my own tears less 
than an hour before. 

This was the final gift of that weekend, on Sunday: the tor- 
rential waterfall of love pouring from Baba through me to Wendy, 
his Beloved, in all of its true strength and power. Now that I look 
back on it, I can see that that Sunday was also the day that Baba 
the jokester delivered the punchline of his great trick on me: The 
surprise appearance of my own Indian guru, dumping Himself like 
a huge waterfall into my heart, after hinting at this day for 25 years 
through two friends I dearly love. 

But I didn't really understand the punchline until Jan the 
tarot reader got the words 'tricked' from her card spread. She was 
seeing the first word of the punchline of a long-running joke played 
on me by a masterful and fun-loving trickster. I couldn't help but 
laugh when I got the whole punchline: "Tricked... by love." Baba 
still loves His games. 

Betty lives in Chapel Hill. 



Nancy Sasser 

Meher Baba prepares his lovers to accept or reject Him long before 
He casts His net. So it was with me. I was born in Raleigh, North 
Carolina in 1946. By the time Meher Baba had made me ripe for His 
plucking it was 1967. Without much ado, I will share that I had been 
through many losses for a young woman of 2 1 . Life had been wrought 
with many sufferings and disappointments. All of these were Beloved 
Baba's preparations to make me ready to begin to ask: "Why, what, 
who is GOD?" On May 22, 1967, Meher Baba caught me in His net, 
finally giving me the answers I had so longed to receive. 

Looking back, it is plain that He was guiding and loving 
me all along. My father owned a furniture store in Franklinton, 
North Carolina. Mother had been trained as a nurse, but joined him 
to work in the store after I was born. There was always a feeling 



1 30 Finding God In North Carolina 

of dread in our house because my father had malignant hyperten- 
sion. It was not uncommon for him to spend time at Duke Hospital 
or to go home early from the store for a nap. Mother often told 
me that he could die at any time. I remember feeling afraid that 
he would die. I was afraid of being left with my mother and little 
sister. Mother ruled our home and her family in a military manner 
where questions were not allowed. 

My father was a Quaker. He was sincere in his faith. People 
in our family and town loved him. He was always the parent I 
would go to when I needed to talk. He never turned me away or 
gave me hasty answers. We often talked of God, looking within 
our hearts for answers, and love for God; these were standard top- 
ics. Because things at home were often stressful we'd get in his 
furniture truck and go collecting. Then we'd sing, talk, laugh and 
often have a prayer together. 

My father died when I was ten and in the fourth grade. 
My sister was two and a half. Naturally childhood ended early. 
I was devastated, depressed, and lonely. There was no one to 
whom I could talk. I felt separate from everyone. I felt unwanted, 
unloved and inferior. I turned to food; babyfat turned to real fat. 
Lots of real fat. This did nothing for my popularity because I 
was teased. Humiliation is a great suffering for a child. Food 
was everywhere. On a lot of weekends we were with relatives 
for big dinners. Late night alone there were always ice cream 
and cookies and left overs. 

In the sixth grade I took voice lessons. Also I had the first 
teacher who took an interest in me as a person. She was often at 
school late and I was there with her as much as she'd let me. From 
then on, I was devoted to my singing and dance lessons. I knew my 
goal which was to be in musicals. By the time I was in the eighth 
grade I weighed 127 pounds. I was winning talent contests. How- 
ever, the battle at home roared. I just do remember my little sister 
being there. 

The summer after the ninth grade I was depressed and 
longed to be with my father. My mother and I had a terrible 
argument about what I would wear in a talent contest. Shortly 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 131 

afterwards, my first suicide attempt followed. Therapy began 
afterwards which was a blessing for me. My therapist was a key 
person in my life. 

The year after the tenth grade, my family and I moved to 
Chapel Hill where I went to South Wing, a psychiatric unit of the 
North Carolina Memorial Hospital. It was great there! There were 
people to talk to who understood feelings and who had similar prob- 
lems. Also, the atmosphere was safe. I didn't flinch when someone 
walked into a room as I did when my mother did at home. 

It was at South Wing on my second stay that I met a young 
fella from New York City whom I married. I was 1 7 and he was 2 1 . 
We lived and worked for awhile in Washington, D.C. However, we 
had not solved our emotional problems. I was going to night school, 
working a full time job in an insurance company in Washington, 
and doing all of the housework. It became too much with no emo- 
tional support and nowhere to go if I did leave my husband. So, I 
made a really big attempt to commit suicide. This time I was in a 
coma for nearly two weeks. 

Afterwards I choose to go to a Virginia State Mental Insti- 
tution instead of a private hospital for the sake of saving money. 
After returning home from the most dreadful place my young eyes 
had ever seen, I got pregnant. This presented a whole new set of 
problems. The solution entailed a move to New York City, many 
visits to psychiatrists for their signatures, and a visit to the hospi- 
tal for a legal abortion. Somewhere during that time, I turned 18. 
While in the hospital, I made the choice not to go home with my 
husband. I had not wanted the abortion, but felt that I had nowhere 
or no one to go to. 

I went to a lady's hotel, The Allerton House for Women 
on East 57th Street, and while there, I had a feeling of God as I'd 
never had before. I prayed in my heart and mind and I KNEW there 
was a God. I then moved to my aunt's home on East 75th Street, 
just a block from my husband's parents! The situation wasn't great 
and in time I flew back to North Carolina to live with my mother 
in Chapel Hill. It was at this time, about 1965, that I began meet- 
ing Chapel Hill people. I was downtown a lot mingling with the 



132 Finding God In North Carolina 

students. It didn't take long to move from my mother's house to 
an apartment. I had all types of small jobs around town. There was 
a feeling of brotherhood among a few people - the long hairs. I 
met Scott Simmons, Locke Benton, Winnie Barrett, Wyatt Hart, 
Marshall Hay, Bob Underwood, Ken Kaufman, Ray Kass, Chris 
Parsons, Sharon Muir, Lorenzo Durham, Art Lester, Barbara Scott, 
John Gunn and many, many others. 

We were all looking for answers. We believed that the 
smoking and taking of certain substances tore down false walls 
and enhanced communication. We were making efforts to KNOW 
ourselves and others. Living down the double standard was BIG. 
Fellowship and friendship were prime. Keeping one's word was 
big stuff. Honesty was holy. We developed our own standards 
which were idealistic. Many discussions were about what we felt 
was coming. We thought, Something s going to happen here. We 
can feel it coming. Also, whenever I could, I took small roles with 
the Duke Players and Carolina Playmakers. 

Just before we learned of Meher Baba in 1966, Timothy 
Leary and Richard Alpert made a big splash with their academic 
studies on LSD. I met a few hippies and felt aghast when they told 
me they took drugs to get high. By then, I'll have to admit, prob- 
ably the drug of choice for me was alcohol. 

That year, Marshall Hay was living with his parents in 
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. After he learned of Meher Baba 
in May, he returned to Chapel Hill to share the news with some 
of his friends. I did not know anything about this. One night at 
a party some people laughed and said, "Marshall has found reli- 
gion." Immediately, I was pissed and said, "Stop it! If Marshall's 
got religion it's got to be good!" Little did I know that Meher Baba 
had me also! 

A few months later, after a late night party at 322 West 
Rosemary Street, I knocked on Ray Kass's door and asked him 
for a ride home. To my amazement he said yes and invited me in 
while he got his coat. While I waited, I saw the most beautiful little 
cards with messages placed around the room. Each one touched 
my heart. I asked him, "What have you been doing?" He said, "Oh, 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 133 

Marshall and I went down to the Meher Baba Center." That was, I 
believe, the very first time I heard Baba's name. I was quiet, asking 
nothing else. 

In the Spring of 1967, a few of us were living at Lorenzo 
Durham's apartment. Art Lester and Alan Green had just returned 
from California. Bob Underwood lived upstairs. We were all a part 
of the Neo American Church, a new legally formed, so-called reli- 
gious group that used LSD as its host. I was appointed secretary by 
Lorenzo who had assumed the position of Chief Boo Hoo. The first 
Boo Hoo had recently been arrested for the possession of peyote. 
As secretary I carried a steno pad, but never wrote a line. 

I recall that that spring was one of the most beautiful I have 
ever experienced. Many things were happening in the world, such 
as Vietnam. I was experiencing a feeling of hope even though it 
felt like my world was dying right in front of my eyes. My boy- 
friend had not told me he was still involved with some one else 
although he continued to be with me. I was crushed and at one of 
the lowest ebbs of my life. 

A musical group called the Godz was brought to town 
by one of my best friends, Philip Perlman, who had to sell his 
pigs, Agnes and Alice, to pay the expense of this concert. Neither 
Lorenzo nor I were there because we were working at Grendel's 
Lair, a Durham bar. It was at this concert that Rick Chapman and 
Marshall announced that there would be a talk about Meher Baba 
the next day. I knew nothing of that either. 

A week later, the first group of Chapel Hill people went 
down to the Meher Spiritual Center to check it out. Scott Simmons, 
Sharon Muir, John Gunn, Barbara Scott (then Gunn) were some 
of these folks. I had the weekend off and went to visit a friend in 
Raleigh where I was trying to decide if I should go to Millbrook, 
New York, to see Timothy Leary or to drop down to Myrtle Beach 
to find out about this Baba. As the Myrtle Beach thing was closer, I 
decided that I'd go there first. 

I returned home to Lorenzo's apartment where I lived and 
found the door dead bolted. I couldn't get into where I was living! 
Bob Underwood was living upstairs so I decided to visit and see 



1 34 Finding God In North Carolina 

if he knew where my roommates were. He knew nothing. We had 
a good visit and even went across the street to the Carolina Grill 
for dinner. Then I decided to try to find Scott Simmons and I went 
to the laundramat to call him. His mother, who was at the laun- 
dramat, told me emphatically, "Scott has gone to the Meher Baba 
Center! Scott has gone to the Meher Baba Center! Scott has gone 
to the Meher Baba Center! This is the first time he has ever told me 
where he was going!" I left word for Scott that I had called. 

Leaving the laundramat and walking down West Franklin 
Street on that rainy night, I had such a feeling of happiness that 
I kept saying, "Meher Baba!" and jumping into the rain puddles 
thinking, "What a nice name!" This was Baba pulling me into His 
Embrace. I got to Harry's, a local delicatessen, where I sat down 
at a booth feeling stunned, delighted and a sense of oneness all 
around me. 

Three people I knew were there including Sharon Harmon 
(now Muir), who was sitting caddy-corner across from me in the 
booth. I ordered coffee. The usual hellos were exchanged, and as 
usual, the conversation was animated. I became quite irritated with 
what I heard (which no one remembers to this day!) and put my 
fist forcefully in the middle of the table saying, "You don't have 
to read anything to know that. That's God!" Sharon looked me 
straight in the eye and said, "That's Baba!" I began to cry like a 
baby saying, "That's it! That's it! That's it!" The manager came to 
check and see if we were all okay. I said, "Yes. Yes." 

People were stunned and I was stunned, crying and talking. 
Someone gave me a Universal Message and I said, "I'm going to 
Myrtle Beach tonight!" In a few minutes, Cris Parsons showed 
up and gave me a ride back to Bob Underwood's apartment. Bob 
answered the door saying, "I'm so glad you're back." I said, "It's 
Baba! and I'm going to Myrtle Beach tonight. If you want to come 
and bring your car that's fine." And, he did! Sooner than lightning, 
Bob had amassed some camping gear and off we went into the dark, 
rainy night with me talking non-stop about Meher Baba. I had not 
yet read the Universal Message. I do not recall even seeing Baba's 
picture until later. Who but God could arrange all of this!? 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 135 

It was after midnight when we got to Myrtle Beach and we 
drove north through town for several miles. As I remember it, we 
drove straight to the Center's gate and found it locked. I thought 
certainly we didn't have the right place because it was locked. We 
crossed the highway and drove into a wooded, buggy area which 
was full of mosquitoes. We went back into town, got a room and 
slept for about five hours. 

About 10 o'clock the next morning, we went to Mammy's 
Kitchen where I called Marshall at the Center and said, "It's 
Nancy. Bob Underwood and I just got here. We're bringing up the 
cow's tail." As Bob and I waited for Marshall to come to pick us 
up, I finally read the Universal Message. By then it didn't mat- 
ter to me who Meher Baba was. I knew this was the answer for 
me. Who-ever this Meher Baba turned out to be, I would follow 
Him. I remember telling Bob to look at the people there in the 
restaurant as there was light in their eyes. It seemed Meher Baba's 
presence was radiating everywhere. 

Marshall and Art Lester came and led us onto the Center to 
the Original Kitchen where Bob and I met Elizabeth Patterson and 
Kitty Davy. They were two little old ladies with the most beauti- 
ful eyes and the kindest hearts. They had brought lunch cooked 
by Bessie, who had cooked for Baba Himself when He was at the 
Center. We were shown where we would be staying and then we sat 
and talked. There was the most beautiful mist rising from the lake 
and the earth. The little gas heaters were warming us. We were told 
to 'look around' and that they would be back with an early dinner 
and that Jane would be there. 

I was so impressed with these women and they were kind 
to each of us. They had lived in India with Baba and they were so 
full of life. They were old! They were in their seventies and were 
living their lives dedicated with love to Meher Baba. They were 
true Meher Baba lovers. I KNEW that I wanted to be a Meher Baba 
lover too. Finally, to find the goal! 

Before dinner, I took a walk and a car drove up and stopped. It 
was Jane Haynes. We thought we knew each other from somewhere, 
but could not figure out from where. We realized then we didn't know 



136 Finding God In North Carolina 

each other. Later all of us got together again and two other girls driv- 
ing from Florida to New York arrived for their first stay. 

The next morning, Elizabeth gave us our first tour around the 
Center and also took us to the beach for a few minutes. I most recall 
being with her at the Barn. We left our shoes by the door and entered. 
She led us to the chairs with green ropes across their chair arms. Baba 
had sat in those chairs. On the mantle was a picture, the one used at 
the Baba booth during the New York World's Fair in 1964. There was 
a special story about this picture. Only one frame of a negative was 
left and if it were not developed correctly it would be ruined forever. 
A cable was sent to Baba and He replied, "Try." The picture turned 
out perfectly. 

Elizabeth also told us how Norina Matchibelli had chosen the 
blue paint for the cross beams of the barn's ceiling. As I remember 
that moment, I see Elizabeth standing there and the most perfect pro- 
found love I had felt had consumed me. My whole being resonated, 
"Baba, Baba, Meher Baba." Silence. Silence. All was silence. 

We spent two nights on the Center. I did not want to return 
to my life in Chapel Hill as there was nothing there for me anymore 
and I did not want to return to my old ways. I wanted to learn to be 
a Baba lover and to help Kitty and Elizabeth. I wanted to see how 
they lived and to learn from them. So, I said to Kitty, "I'm going to 
move to Myrtle Beach." She didn't bat an eye but told me to say, "If 
it's Baba's will, I'm going to move to Myrtle Beach." I said, "Yes, 
okay." She had started teaching me right away. So at the break- 
fast table I said,"If it's Baba's will, I am going to move to Myrtle 
Beach."And, Jane said,"Ooh, how lovely!" Elizabeth said, "Oh, that 
is quite nice." And Kitty said with a wink in my direction, "Ooh, 
now, isn't that lovely!" Nobody said the old familiar, "Oh, you can't 
do that!" They all said, "Yes, if it's Baba's will, it will happen." 

Two weeks from that day I was on a bus from Chapel Hill 
returning to Myrtle Beach. Meher Baba inspired me to be with His 
lovers. My first want as a new Baba lover was to learn how to love 
and remember Meher Baba at all times by being with His dear 
ones at His home in the West. I lived in Myrtle Beach from 1 967 
through 1971. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 137 

So ends my story of how Meher Baba has come into 
my life. There have been periods of strife, honeymooning with 
Meher Baba, suffering, happiness, mental and emotional prob- 
lems, great and small, whatevers, whenevers; all just a few of 
the necessary parts of the dream. Now, at 60, I feel a rebirth 
which is Meher Baba's doing. I often think of things like, How 
can I remember Him? What would please Baba?, and How can 
I remember that He is the Master, my TRUE father, who gives 
what is always needed? How can I love and serve others? And 
how can I always, always thank Baba for everything even if I 
don 't understand why? 

Once I called Jane Haynes and told her that I'd finally dis- 
covered what upset me the most!!!! She said, "Yes, dear?" And I 
said, "Myself. I am always feeling left out!" Jane replied, "The 
only thing that matters is Baba." I thought, Myself, just a great big 
intake of air. We both whispered, "Jai Baba." 

I am forever grateful to Kitty Davy for telling me time and 
time, again and again, "Love the One in the many, not the many 
in the one." 

And, as Meher Baba says, "Try to see Me as I really am." 

Due to the effects of maya, I may feel separate, apart and 
left out. My heart knows this is not true. Since coming to Meher 
Baba, He has made His presence known. Nothing could be more 
important. 

AVATAR MEHER BABA KI JAI ! 

Nancy lived in Chapel Hill from 1964 to 1969 and again in 
the 1980's. She now lives in Arkansas. 



Barbara Scott 

I always felt that my experience was part of the Chapel Hill group 
experience of the late 1960's, even though I had individual connec- 
tions to God before I heard of Baba, having always believed in Jesus 
and feeling that I'd missed the boat by not being alive when he was. 



1 38 Finding God In North Carolina 

I can recall as a child feeling rather resentful towards God for not 
making it possible for me to meet Jesus, so when I did hear of Meher 
Baba, I immediately realized that this was my Big Chance. 

Unfortunately, we of that generational group mostly did 
not meet Baba, by obeying his orders not to visit him while he was 
in seclusion. But I never felt resentful towards God for that. In fact 
I felt that Baba, as God or Jesus, was an intimate part of my life 
and always have since 1967. 

I have lived much of my life away from or apart from Baba 
groups and meetings, nearly always by choice. I feel that I have 
been shaped in the fires of life like a well-made pot, and I hope that 
my cracks are not too noticeable. 

When Art Lester and my daughter Mary Gunn and I lived 
in Botswana, we boldly placed a Meher Baba photo on our liv- 
ing room wall. It was the picture in which Baba holds his hand to 
his lips in a 'shushing' gesture. Surprisingly, almost noone ever 
noticed the photo, but one African woman with whom we were 
working said disapprovingly that a man who doesn't speak gives 
up his power. I told her that Meher Baba said he was storing power, 
but I doubt that she was convinced, since talking things through is 
a major component of Botswana culture. 

Another time, when Art and I were living in a remote site 
in Kenya among the Muko Godo Maasai, we went to the town of 
Nanyuki for groceries. One of the trading stores was run by an 
Indian Kenyan family. In the window of the shop on a set of shelves 
they kept pictures of family and of Gandhi. On this particular day 
I was amazed to see there a photo of Meher Baba also. I asked the 
very cordial proprietress about this and she said that she was a 
relative of an Indian family of Baba lovers who lived in Mombasa. 
We had heard of the family but never met them. She recounted an 
amusing story of going to visit her relatives and being upset that 
they seemed not to be speaking to her - then she learned that it was 
Meher Baba's Silence Day. 

While living in London, Art and I had the opportunity to 
spend time with Meher Baba's magnificent disciple, Delia DeLeon. 
As those who knew her will be aware, Delia was a big American 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 39 

booster, praising the American Baba lovers who were so active and 
enthusiastic, at the expense of the poor English Baba people who, 
in her view, did nothing and had no spirit. This is not surprising 
when one realizes that Delia was herself an American, born and 
raised in Panama. When Delia passed away I attended her funeral. 
It was a lovely occasion, and several people inadvertently referred 
to it as 'Delia's wedding'. We agreed that this seemed quite natural 
since Delia had loved Baba in such an intense and romantic way, 
and would now be reunited with her Divine Beloved. 

While in London and later back in the US, I corresponded 
with a Turkish prisoner. He was a Kurd. It was an odd and rather 
awkward exchange since in his culture it would be quite unaccept- 
able to 'talk' to a strange woman, and especially a foreigner and 
non-Muslim. At one point I felt moved to tell him about Meher 
Baba, because he had mentioned Sufism. I told him about Meher 
Baba's father, and he was amazed, saying that his own uncle had 
once spent 40 days in a circle in the desert, and was known to every- 
one as a great spiritual leader. For this reason this humble prisoner 
was able to understand at once what Meher Baba's stature was. 

I rarely tell anyone about Meher Baba, because I go back 
to what Baba used to say about the need to be an evolved per- 
son oneself before proselytising in his name. Very rarely I feel 
the urge to do so and I can't explain why or tell the results, as 
these are usually brief encounters with people I may never see 
again. But one tenet of Baba's I try to take very seriously is that 
cheerfulness is a gift we give to others, and that even a smile can 
convey truth-consciousness. I try to remember this particularly in 
my work, which has generally been with disadvantaged people. 
I'm not sure my husband, Donnie, would agree that I'm always 
good at practicing this virtue at home, however. 

In recent years I've become an author, editor, and book 
reviewer. I feel that Baba has allowed me to draw on my many 
varied experiences to accomplish this, with less ego than I would 
have had if I had had the good fortune to become a writer in my 
youth. I'm always looking for new projects and leaving the old 
ones behind as soon as they're completed. I authored Golden 



1 40 Finding God In North Carolina 

Thread and co-authored Love Bade Me Welcome, the biography 
of Phyllis Ott. These are projects I'm proud of, and I like to think 
other Baba projects may come my way in the future. 

Barbara Bamberger Scott lived in Chapel Hill in the 1960's 
and now lives in Dodson. 



Barbara and James Spivey 

James: I was born in 1949 and grew up in Central Florida. It was a 
very rural, somewhat rude place. My father left when I was three years 
old and I was told that he died. So it was just my brother, my mother 
and I. We were very poor and friends of ours connected to the KKK 
helped us out tremendously. Many of the people close to us were in 
the Klan, and they, along with the blacks, kept food on our table. 

As a kid, I would ask about my father and people would be 
'strange' to give me an answer. He was actually alive and right in 
the neighborhood. 

It became obvious to me that they were lying to me about 
my father. There was a lot wrong with people lying directly to me. I 
started asking for some help as none of the people around me were 
giving me anything. I wanted some answers. I would go out into the 
woods, my favorite place, and I felt like I started receiving answers. 
When I would ask questions like, "Am I going to be okay?" or "Why 
are these people lying to me?", I started getting some answers and 
some relief. Somebody was communicating with me. This went on 
for some years. It wasn't the kind of thing I could tell my friends 
about. I knew I was on to God. That's what I believed. 

I spent a lot of time out in the woods talking to my God. 
We got a television in 1956, when I was about seven. I was watch- 
ing television and there was a show, Dave Garroway, on which 
I saw an interview with Baba. He was sitting beside a desk and 
someone was standing behind him, straight and tall. He was asked 
a question, "If you're God, why is there is so much pain and suf- 
fering in the world?" When I was watching, it was just me and this 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 141 

show. There was nothing else. The world didn't exist. That was a 
question that I thought I asked in my heart. He gave an answer like, 
"There is pain and suffering because of greed and selfishness." 
Then the show ended. I very much didn't want it to end and I didn't 
want to see anything else on the television. So I got up to it real 
close and was going to turn it off if anything else came on. I was 
hoping it would go off with that gray screen that used to appear in 
those days. That's what happened so I turned it off. I had read His 
name as there were captions even though I could understand the 
guy behind him who I later assumed was Eruch. It really hit me 
strongly. I had a name. I felt that that was the answer. 

Out in the woods when I would ask, "Who am I talking 
to?", I would get an answer, "It's ok. You don't need to know." 
I felt ashamed to ask for some reason. But after reading Baba's 
name, I would use the name, Meher Baba, and call it out. 

Later, I got away from talking to the God I found. When 
puberty hit, I became just another 'jackass' kid in the neighbor- 
hood. I forgot about God. It wasn't until high school, when I had 
a couple of friends, one of whom happened to be from Chapel 
Hill, that I heard more about Baba. They knew about Meher Baba 
and would tell me about Him. It all started getting very familiar 
to me. When He died, I was told about it through one of my 
friends. 

Years later in Atlanta, I had roommates, a couple, who 
were Baba lovers. The husband's name was Robert Rast. He was a 
professor at Georgia Tech. He had some Baba cards and we talked 
a little bit. It was vaguely familiar to me, but it wasn't a big deal 
even then. Then Robert moved out. I did many things, got married 
and had kids. 

I met Barbara in 1983 and we were married in 1984. 

Barbara: This the point where our stories intertwine. I was 
raised Antiochan Merionite Catholic (The First Christian Church 
of Lebanon) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My family life was very 
oppressive and suppressive. Totally different from James'. He had 
all the freedom in the world and I had none. I was raised going to 
church, catechism and all that good stuff. I left it behind the instant 



142 Finding God In North Carolina 

I could and that was when I went to college in 1964. I had never 
stopped believing in God, just not in organized religion. 

I married James in 1984 and we had two children very 
quickly. We were raising our kids without the benefit of church. 
Sometime in the 90 's, we began seeking spiritually. James was tak- 
ing a class with a fellow who taught astral travel and had a remark- 
able experience there. The guy's name was David Thompson and 
it really sparked something in us. When the students would ask 
David a question, he would keep pointing to James and James 
answered the questions! Without thinking. It was just very natural. 
Afterwards, the man did a past life reading for James and it was 
quite remarkable. That sparked something. 

David also said to him, "If you think that's something, wait 
until you meet Elliott." He was another teacher in Atlanta and I 
would guess he had some foothold on the planes. He was very 
lovely and sweet and everything he taught was Baba, while having 
a total and complete veil drawn by Baba. It was the first time I heard 
Baba's name. Elliott said, "There was this fellow from India who 
thought he was God and even has this center in South Carolina." 
He (Elliott) had been there and said, "It is interesting because all 
the people who go there are extremely well educated, highly intel- 
ligent and really nice people. I just don't understand it! I just don't 
understand how they can be duped by this guy. He had the crazy 
idea he was God!" It was from Elliott that I got Paul Brunton's book 
A Search in Secret India. I read the book and saw that Baba was in it 
twice. Mr. Brunton had interviewed Baba in one of the caves. That 
was my first hearing and seeing of Meher Baba's name. 

Then fast forward to 1996 and the Olympics in Atlanta. We 
rented out a part of our house and made enough profit to take our 
young kids to the beach. We belonged to a potluck group and we 
asked others there, "Where do you take kids anymore? Everything 
is high rises and billboards and strip joints and bars." Two friends 
of ours almost simultaneously said, "Oh, WE know a place. It's 
in South Carolina." So they told me what to do and I wrote to the 
Center and we went. We stayed for quite a while with two kids 
who were about eight and ten at the time. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 143 

It was about a six hour drive and we got to the Center at 
the old Gateway. I got out of the car, stretched and suddenly felt a 
palpable feeling all over my body. It was like a body slam. It was 
pure love. It just came ROLLING at me! Pure love and I could feel 
it all over my body. I don't know how long I stood there beside the 
car, but eventually I did go inside to register. We weren't given a 
key to lock a door (which surprised us). That was something very 
interesting. All I knew was that this was a retreat center and people 
who were seekers of God came here. Baba didn't mean a whole lot 
to me. We wanted an environment like this to be with our kids. I 
had no idea what to expect. 

As we spent time at the Center, amazing, wonderful little 
things would happen. But to get our minds around the concept of 
His Divinity was very difficult. But for our children, it was com- 
paratively easy. We were in the old Twin cabin A with a huge liv- 
ing room and great big screen porch. They were at the table there 
coloring and they were listening to us. Then they looked up at us 
and said, "Baba's God." And turned back to their coloring. 

Later, when we were walking through the breezeway into 
the Original Kitchen, someone said, "We just got word that Mani 
is very ill and not expected to regain consciousness." I had another 
body experience similar to the one I had had standing next to the 
car when we arrived. I had no clue who Mani was, but when I heard 
that, I got chills, an an adrenaline reaction, and then it went away. 

After this visit to the Center, it took several months for 
James and I to get a grasp on Baba's Divinity. The kids, however, 
grasped it almost instantly. We immediately began going to meet- 
ings in the Atlanta area and even went to the Southeast Gathering, 
before getting a grasp on this God thing. 

James: Well the first trip to the Center, it seemed familiar to 
me. The coastline was similar to that with which I grew up with in 
Florida. It was beautiful and reminded me so much of what I had to 
be around as a kid. When we went to the Center I didn't remember 
who Meher Baba was even though I had heard his name previously. 
After a couple of visits, I starting asking people if Baba had ever 
been on television and their answer was, "No." But I remembered 



144 Finding God In North Carolina 

the TV show from my childhood. Then we went several more times 
and every time I would ask the same question and they all said, 
"No." Then I quit asking. But one rainy day, I went to the Library 
and walked up to a shelf and pulled a book down, opened it up, 
and right there on page 52 was mention of the interview with Baba 
that I saw! The book was Life At Its Best, by Ivy Duce. There in the 
book was the same question about suffering that I had heard in the 
interview. It was wonderful! ! Barbara was there and I held it up and 
said, "This is it! This is what I have been talking about!" The book 
said: "Baba gave this answer to the following question asked of him 
on television, Why should misery perpetually exist on earth in spite 
of God's infinite love and mercy?" Baba's answer was: 

The source of eternal bliss is the Self in all. The cause of per- 
petual misery is the selfishness of all. As long as there is satisfaction 
through selfish pursuits, misery will always exist. Only because of the 
love and infinite mercy of God does man learn to realize through the 
lessons of misery on earth that inherent in him is the source of infinite 
bliss and all suffering is a labor of love to unveil his infinite self. 

It was the same thing I saw on the subtitles on the TV show 
in 1956. There were also some films of Baba at a big gathering on 
that show. I remember mostly Him sitting in a chair. Behind the 
chair was Eruch. 

When we went to India at New Years 2000-2001, I got to 
tell my story to Eruch. I really felt full circle when I did that. 

James and Barbara have lived in Chapel Hill since 200 1 . 



Gabriella Tal 

The very first time I had a connection with Baba was in 1979 when 
I was twenty one (just finishing college) and driving down Airport 
Road in Chapel Hill. I saw this man hitchhiking and he looked kinda 
like a tough guy. I didn't generally stop, but for some reason I found 
myself stopping and picked him up. His name was Phil Cohen. For 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 145 

some reason, I drove him to his home instead of just dropping him 
off, and we ended up having a great conversation. I think he had 
a pendant of Baba around his neck. I don't know if he mentioned 
Meher Baba that day or not, but he did ask me for my phone number, 
which I didn't usually give to guys I picked up hitchhiking, but for 
some reason I did. We ended up having many conversations about 
Meher Baba in his little trailer where we'd just sit and talk. (We are 
still good friends after all these years.) But I wasn't quite ready for 
the idea of a Master. I would listen, but I couldn't really absorb it. 

Several years went by and in about 1984, when I was 26, 
I met another person, who, just out of the blue, gave me the book 
Listen Humanity. He said, "You'll like this book." Many years later, 
I realized, Oh my God, I have had this on my shelf all these years! It 
was Meher Baba's book! It had sat there and I had never read it. 

When I was 27, 1 was seeking God although I had already 
found Him and not realized it. I went to India to be with this spiri- 
tual teacher, Swami Shyam, and it was a pretty bad experience. I 
did a huge amount of meditation. We did yoga and pranayam. On 
that level, it was sort of a spiritual paradise, but later I felt betrayed 
by Shyam and some of the things he did. It was a big crisis in my 
life. I'd left everything to go to India - my work, my husband, my 
home. I was lost. 

I went from India to Israel to be with my family and then 
my life really fell apart. After a few months, Baba kind of scooped 
me up. I was living in Jerusalem then. I got a letter from Phil though 
he hadn't been in touch for two or three years. So Baba used him 
TWICE to reach me. In a letter, he said, "Give me a call." I called 
him and he said his life was in a time of difficulty. I said, "You 
can't imagine. Mine too!" So he said, "Why don't you come and 
live with me for awhile?" 

So I left Israel and came to North Carolina to live with Phil. I 
had gone to Connecticut, to India, to Israel and back to Chapel Hill. 
That's when I became more conscious of Baba as there were pictures 
of him in my room. One was that picture of Baba with the lamb. They 
were just little ripped posters in really bad shape, but I didn't want to 
take them off the wall. For some reason, they comforted me. 



1 46 Finding God In North Carolina 

One day, I was playing the piano in my room with a friend 
when this picture of Baba on the wall just absolutely came alive 
and both of us jumped at the same time! She said, "Let's go out- 
side. I don't want to be here." But I was kinda taken by the whole 
thing. So little by little, I became more open to Baba. But because 
of my experience with Shyam, I was still cautious. 

Phil got a job in Andrews, South Carolina with a labor 
union. He had a daughter, Coli, who was about three at the time 
and we had her about fifty per cent of the time. She and I had 
become very close and I would take her to visit Phil in South 
Carolina. One weekend when I took her there, it was very hot 
and there were tons of mosquitoes. There were no screens on the 
windows and I was extremely disturbed by the whole thing. 

I couldn't sleep and thought, How can Phil live like thisll 
Because of the mosquitoes I was up late after Coli and Phil had 
gone to bed. So finally I just started to say, "Meher Baba, Meher 
Baba." When I would say His name, the mosquitoes stopped biting 
me. As long as I would say His name, they would keep away from 
me, but when I stopped they would start biting me again. So you 
would think that would be enough proof for me! But I was very 
resistant. I thought that the next time I would bring Coli here, I'd 
drop her off in Andrews and go to the Baba Center, (which was 
nearby), where there would be less mosquitoes. It was the way 
Baba caused my mind to go. 

So the next trip to Andrews, I dropped Coli off with Phil 
and went to the Baba Center (in Myrtle Beach). There I began to 
really deeply feel Baba. His pictures were always very significant 
to me and He would just speak to me through them. I had a little 
notebook and wrote down everything that He said. And everything 
He said came true. One thing He said was, "You are going to work 
with children," which I ended up doing. 

Right before I left the Center, I was in the Cabin on the 
Hill and Baba looked at me really strongly and said, "Stop steal- 
ing." I didn't write it down. This one thing I didn't write down. I 
had been shoplifting in Chapel Hill, not a lot, but here and there. 
I didn't have much money and was just using that as an excuse. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 47 

I'd buy something expensive and then I'd shoplift something less 
expensive. It was a really stupid thing to do and Baba had told me 
to stop. 

Two days later - back in Chapel Hill- (it happened to be the 
day that George Bush Sr. got elected), I went to the drugstore on 
Franklin Street and bought something fairly expensive and stole a 
bottle of contact solution - like a cheap item. And I got caught as 
I was going through the door with it. Up to that point, I had never 
got caught. 

To add to my bad character, when the folks in the store 
tried to stop me, I threw the item aside as if I hadn't taken it. They 
said, "No, we saw you do that." So they put me aside and were 
going to get the police. As I was waiting, I suddenly thought, Baba 
tried to warn me. He s reall Up to this point, the big resistance I 
had to Baba was that He wasn't in the body. "How could I have a 
Master that wasn't in the body? How could he really relate to me 
and guide me?" It finally came to me that YES, He was very pres- 
ent. He had connected with me. He had tried to save me from just 
what was happening now - and He was there! 

I felt His presence so strongly, I just started to cry in joy, 
that He was my Master! That was my moment of real connection, 
real surrender and when I accepted Baba as my Master. So there I 
was, and the police came. They thought I was crying because I'd 
got caught, but I was crying because I was so happy that Baba was 
real and that He was really there for me. 

So that's my story. He went on to clean up my life over and 
over again, right until this day. 

Gabriella lives in Chapel Hill. 

Bob Underwood 

Coming to Baba was and is a long process, and is still going on. 
In about 1967, I visited Samuel Weisers bookstore in New York 
which specialized in the metaphysical and occult. I asked myself, 
Which, of all these books, would be the best? So, I picked up God 



148 Finding God In North Carolina 

Speaks but felt the title to be presumptive. I glanced through the 
book, looked at the charts and decided that there was no way I 
could know whether this was Truth or not. I put the book back and 
forgot about it for years . Later, I saw a review of The God-Man by 
Charles Purdom and felt I had to read this book. But again I forgot 
about it - one of life's many little leads never explored. 

The same year Will Bullard, my friend in Chapel Hill, 
showed me a Baba card which had the symbols of the worlds' reli- 
gions on it and the statement I AM GOD. He also told me about the 
Center at Myrtle Beach and said that Baba was there. I envisioned 
vegetarian diets, sandals and white robes . I did not particularly 
want to meet Baba, but I was attracted to the exotic, and wanted to 
check it out sometime. 

Will was later arrested for peyote and did about two years 
prison time. Jack Brooks, Jerry Markatos, Lorenzo Durham, my 
friends in Chapel Hill, and I visited him in prison. Baba at the time 
was in seclusion and I thought it tragic and ironic that while Baba 
said, " Don't write to me," Will was left to endure with little contact 
from old companions. I expressed this irony in a letter, published 
in The East Village Other, a counterculture newspaper, intended to 
be critical of Baba and to spur communication with Will. 

Will defended his drug use as a religious sacrament and 
joined a 'drug church', The Neo American Church, to prove his 
innocence in court. The Neo- American Church took the model of 
the Native American Church Church, which had won a lawsuit 
allowing them to use peyote as a sacrament. The case made it to 
the North Carolina State Supreme Court, but Will lost the case 
there. 

Jack, like myself, was skeptical about Baba and I remem- 
ber one conversation he and I had with Art Lester, who had 'con- 
verted' to Baba. Art, in trying to convince us of Baba's Divinity, 
mentioned that Poona, Baba's home town, was a very holy city. 
"No doubt", replied Jack, "as is Lhasa, Bombay, and Amsterdam." 
"Point made," Art replied. "Keep chopping on dead wood, Jack." I 
felt that the point Art was trying to make about Poona was bullshit, 
but was surprised at his humility when corrected by Jack. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 149 

Jack never became a Baba lover - at least not in any for- 
mal sense. But he always struck me as brilliantly humorous with a 
great sense of fun. Like Jerry Markatos, he had the gift to see the 
humor in any situation. 

I remember coming back to Chapel Hill from an outing 
just after July 10, 1967, and finding my friends Lorenzo, Judy 
Lipton, and Art Lester subdued and weeping. The weeping 
seemed to be for joy, and genuine. They had just finished keeping 
Baba's Silence. 

Lorenzo later said, "Baba confirmed everything ever 
learned about Egyptology." Bullshit, I thought. I was still some- 
what of a skeptic, but not for long. 

By 1968, Baba had poured Himself into Chapel Hill. A 
local shop, The Leather Shop, had a sign, "The Leather Shop loves 
you more than you can ever love yourself." One person told me 
that the Baba lovers were recognizable because they were so radi- 
antly happy. It was true. Kitty, Elizabeth, Jane and the Otts had 
become the focus in our lives - particularly Kitty. It was a magical 
time, the springtide of Creation. 

Bob lived in Chapel Hill in the 1960's and now lives in 
Greensboro. 



Zuzanna Vee 

The first of three children, I was born to two US Marines in San Fran- 
cisco, California in late June, 1956. Meher Baba visited that city in 
August of that year and I have always cherished the thought that our 
cars might have passed on the Golden Gate Bridge and Baba looked 
at me, setting up an appointment to come to Him at a later date. 

I grew up in Florida where my traditional 50's up bringing 
was shattered by the British music invasion of the early 60's, as 
all American's lives were shattered, by the Kennedy assassination 
around the same time. My life had been quiet, secure and wonder- 
filled. No one could have guessed what was just around that safe, 



1 50 Finding God In North Carolina 

familiar corner of young America. Our innocence disintegrated, 
there were now new questions to be asked. A few years later, I 
began asking loudly and clearly along with a whole generation. 

In 10th grade I formed a powerful relationship with a rebel- 
lious young man named John Fazio, but it disintegrated by the end 
of that school year. I dated little, being more interested in making 
good grades and meditating. I had also begun a hatha yoga practice 
and was feeling really good about myself. 

One day, out of the blue, John called me and said, "If it's 
the last thing you do, go see the movie Tommy." Well, I thought, 
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just leave me alonel and probably said as much. 
I had no intention of going. Ever since we had gone our separate 
ways, John would occasionally call, trying to get back together. I 
had been devastated by the breakup, as only fifteen year olds can 
be, and was in no mood for reconciliation even after two years. 

Following high school, I went to business college and was 
about half way through the year course. Every morning as I ate 
breakfast before heading off to college, I would hear the advertise- 
ment for Tommy on the radio: "He'll tear your soul apart!" it said. 
Little did I know... 

Baba has a way of making one show up for an appointment 
whether one remembers it or not; whether one wants to or not. One 
evening, on a date in April 1975, we were done with dinner and 
it was still quite early. My date suggested we go to a movie. We 
ended up at Tommy. 

It's a funny thing. There have been quite a few major junc- 
tures in my life and they have rarely been accompanied by huge 
fanfare, fireworks or signs of portent in the sky. It amazes me how 
one can so calmly go to a prearranged appointment with destiny 
and have no awareness of what is coming. It is so subtle and soft, 
these lead-ups to major life changes. 

Inside the darkened theatre I sat with my date, the lights 
went down, the advertisements rolled, and then the movie began. 
There was a particular point at which I became super aware, as 
if I were seeing clearly for the first time in my life. It was dur- 
ing the Marilyn healing scene with Arthur Brown as the preacher. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 151 

There was a man in the background wearing what looked to me 
like newsprint coveralls. He had a guitar and was moving rhythmi- 
cally. Suddenly, my vision tunneled and all I saw for the rest of the 
movie was that man. Who the heck was he? Who indeed! For some 
inexplicable reason I felt the movie was telling me, telling us all, 
that God was back on earth again and that I could find out about 
Him from that man playing guitar. 

I felt shell-shocked and couldn't speak all the way home, 
but looked out of the car window into the darkness and knew my 
life would never be the same again. Along the country road, the 
huge live oaks passed like sentinels guarding my way home to 
a new life. I couldn't wait till the morning to call John and say, 
"You've been right all along. We do need to get back together!" 
The day before, even a few hours before, this would have been an 
impossible thought. I never saw my date of that evening again, but 
I owe him a huge debt of gratitude that I never realized until the 
writing of this some 30 years later. Thank you, George, wherever 
you are. 

So began a period of intensely focused activity. The man 
in the newsprint boiler suit had been Pete Townshend, writer of 
Tommy, member of the rock band, THE WHO. It felt self-evident 
that we needed to go to England, find him and hear what he had to 
say. This is not a logical conclusion to seeing the movie Tommy. No 
one else had the same reaction or at least the same result. John was 
ready to come along the whirlwind path of energy created by see- 
ing the movie and it turned out we worked really well together. 

The next year was filled with research and reconnaissance. 
We bought every newspaper, magazine and book that even vaguely 
mentioned THE WHO. We scoured music, record, and book stores. 
It was a terrific high and it kept us buoyed most of the time. 

Although John and I had listened to THE WHO often when 
we'd first been together, I had not internalized what their music 
was, who was in the band, etc. Several of their songs were indel- 
ibly impressed upon my mind, but I had not put it all together. My 
life up to that point had been by comparison a thin, wispy insub- 
stantial thing. It was going to get very real very soon. 



152 Finding God In North Carolina 

"How could we discover where to go once we did get to 
England?" This was the age before the Internet and information 
technology that we take so for granted these days. We lived in a 
very small town and were not born into influential or adventurous 
families. Oddly enough one of the books we bought had Pete's 
home address in it. I believe it had a pink cover and was a trade 
paperback size. It was hardly believable, but there it was! Perhaps 
the address was only in the copy we bought. We wrote a letter of 
introduction to the address and I eventually received a reply on let- 
terhead from Pete's secretary, Judi. We now had his office phone 
number and address. 

Accompanying the letter was also a little pamphlet, the Uni- 
versal Message. It had a picture of a man who looked very much 
like Jerry Cologna from the old Marx Brother's movies. We read 
it - it went right over our heads, but we realized this must be God. 
We immediately bought Pete's 1973 album Who Came First and it 
included quite a number of photos of this mysterious gentleman. 

I was still living at home at this time and sharing a room 
with my nine-year-old sister Marianne. One night as we were 
going to sleep, I felt a warm hand on my shoulder, briefly. I asked 
Marianne, "Did you just put your hand on my shoulder?" She 
got really frightened and bounced quickly closer to me. I found 
myself calmly saying, "Don't worry. That was Meher Baba," and I 
promptly fell asleep feeling very confident and safe. 

How would we actually get to see Pete once we got to 
England? I had a theory: if we got to England and died, when we 
reincarnated, we'd be that much closer to the truth we sought. 
Very young, spiritual thinking, but it carried me along with a 
strong faith that if we just got to England, everything would work 
out fine. As it happens, I was right. 

From my present day perspective, I realize the intense focus 
and flow we maintained for such a long period of time - getting 
to England, to Pete and finding out about Meher Baba - is how 
Eckhart Tolle describes 'enthusiasm'. Apparently a derivative of 
the word means "possessed by God'. We generated a great deal of 
energy and were connected to the flow because it was our destiny. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 153 

It should be no surprise that we did attain our goal, and much more 
than we could ever have expected, but even having lived it, I am 
surprised by Baba's specific lessons and timing. 

During this time we naturally immersed ourselves in 
Englishness. There was a soda shop in the Roses plaza called 
Trafalgar's, owned by an English couple, which we frequented. 
We would order chocolate malt shakes and enjoy the posters of 
Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, The Houses of Parliament, and other 
touristy sights. There was also a woman who worked at a local 
convenience store who hailed from Kent. We used to go in just 
to hear her talk. 

John and I wrote copious amounts accompanied by collage 
in large, black hard-backed art books. We had about six completed 
each by this time. They contained our basic philosophy of life in 
satire and prose poetry. John initiated the technique of using maga- 
zine images and collage to drive home a point while I used hand 
drawn artwork in some of my books. We decided that if Pete could 
see and read these books, he'd realize we were all on the same 
track and invite us over. John spoke to an American at Pete's office 
on several occasions. He assured us that if we sent our books to the 
address we had, Pete would definitely receive them. 

We had two large boxes packaged up along with a letter (no 
recollection of what it might have said) and went off to the post 
office feeling like collaborators in an elaborate espionage: a secret 
life we were living that no one knew about, but were unwittingly 
helping us achieve our goals. The very ordinary event of a visit to 
the post office conveyed to us a whole world of meaning and por- 
tent. It cost us $60 to send both of the boxes by sea mail and would 
take six weeks to arrive. It was an enormous amount of capital at 
that time. 

We kept ourselves busy with our plans to travel, and tried 
to stay positive. Around this time, I had a dream that helped me 
quite a bit: 

/ was driving a small, silver English sports car, a Triumph, 
I believe. I subsequently found myself in a castle, in a small room 



1 54 Finding God In North Carolina 

hung with heavy draperies. I felt John was there, but I didn 't see 
him. Hanging behind one of the draperies I found an old fashioned 
key on a silk cord with a small British flag attached. 

I interpreted that dream as meaning the 'key' was England. 
England held the answer. It confirmed my feeling that we needed 
to get there at all costs. 

My father had never liked John and when we started seeing 
each other again, he gave me an ultimatum: "Change your friends 
or leave home." I was flabbergasted, but indignant. How dare he 
tell me with whom to hang out. Being 1 8, 1 could, thankfully, leave 
home. My dad and I didn't talk for over two years, and later on, 
I know he was sorry he had gone that route, but as with so many 
families, no one ever really addressed important issues. John's 
mother let me stay with them, which was great. I slept on the floor 
of his sister's room. 

This new living arrangement allowed John and I many late 
night walks. On one such evening, I was suddenly seeing some- 
thing in my head: brown-shoed feet running quickly down brown 
carpeted enclosed spiral stairs. No sound, just the visual. I didn't 
know what that was, but I was sure it was connected to our focus 
on getting to England. 

All our spare time was spent earnestly discussing a variety 
of plans of action. How to get the money to get the tickets and 
passports to get to England? We both had dreadfully low waged 
jobs, but we eventually sold John's huge album collection to my 
younger brother for $400. He had a much better job than both of 
us, and Ed was the only one who had an inkling of our plans. It was 
top-secret stuff. 

After business college I worked in a bank as a reception- 
ist for minimum wage and an unfriendly atmosphere in the sum- 
mer of 1975. John couldn't find any work, so he sold his beloved 
drum kit to get a second hand gas guzzler and we took off for New 
York to find better paid work. We had plans to stay with his cousin 
in Shirley, New York. Upon our arrival our car needed extensive 
repairs, so we had no wheels, no money and no job. Not what we 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 155 

had intended. This began a downward spiral of our energy and our 
attitudes. It was very difficult under these circumstances to remain 
positive. We overstayed our welcome and didn't make any money. 
We reluctantly decided to return to Florida and cut our losses, but 
it felt like a major defeat. 

We arrived home on a devastatingly sunny day in the 
Florida Autumn with our proverbial tails between our legs. How 
could we go on? What could we do that we hadn't already tried? 
Money always seemed to be so elusive. But that wasn't really 
true. When it came down to it, we had all that we needed. We 
just needed to step into the flow again, regain our enthusiasm and 
cultivate patience; always easier said than done. 

Then, on a very hot, sticky and depressing day in Ordinary 
Land, after our return from the ill-fated New York adventure, some- 
thing shifted. No word had come about the books we'd sent to 
England and tension had reached a critical peak. John had gone out 
to the mailbox and I took a razor blade and began slashing at my 
forearms. Not with suicidal intent; it just seemed like a good idea at 
the time; physical pain is always much more endurable than emo- 
tional agony. John entered the room with an odd look on his face, 
speechless. I couldn't interpret it and began feeling guilty about my 
minor bloodletting foray. He held aloft in his hand a white enve- 
lope, postmarked England. It was a letter from Pete. Immediately I 
felt even more guilty that I had not been able to keep my faith and 
my cool when deliverance was right at hand. It was a mental state I 
would revisit several times again in my life, but thankfully without 
the razor blade drama. 

One of us opened the letter. I do not remember this, just 
that it happened. Pete wrote a full-page letter, typed on white 
paper. The crux of the letter was that we were mistaken, did not 
know what he was talking about, we had not correctly interpreted 
his music and we definitely did not, through the film Tommy, know 
him in any way. It was basically a negative tone telling us that all 
fans got the feeling they knew him (or any rock star) through his 
music, but that we were wrong - sorry. He was sending our books 
back to us, not because he thought they were crap, but because 



1 56 Finding God In North Carolina 

he knew they were precious to us and he couldn't give them the 
appreciation they deserved. 

However, at the bottom of the page, hand written in fine bright 
blue felt pen, was a message of a very different tone. It said simply, 
"P.S. I am always here - for you." That was our invitation! The whole 
of the entire letter was nothing. These six little words said it all and 
that was what we needed. When we questioned Pete later about that 
additional message, he said he did not know why he wrote it. 

We were buzzing, electrified! electrified! We had been in 
the deepest despair one moment and jumped to the height of the 
mountains and beyond the next. We were definitely attached to 
outcome. It was as if God had given His permission and sanctioned 
our enterprise in person. We immediately set about purchasing air- 
line tickets, obtaining passports and generally preparing to set off 
for England not in theory, but now, in earnest. When we eventually 
received our books back and retrieved them from their boxes, they 
smelled of specialness and far away places. Of deep secrets and 
even deeper knowings. They had been the reconnaissance scouts, 
preceding us and paving the way. 

We miraculously obtained jobs now. I made cold cut 
sandwiches and stocked tobacco products in K-Mart, which we 
always thought really funny because I was a vegetarian at the 
time and did not smoke. John got a job as a waiter at Tahitian 
Gardens' Tiki Village Restaurant. We purchased a new pair of 
jeans each, hiking boots, and backpacks. We would take our 
books with us, a toothbrush each, change of underwear, two 
small books from the Theosophists that I loved, Light on the 
Path and At the Feet of the Master, and Pete's invitation. We 
practiced walking with these very heavy packs in the evenings 
around the pond in the center of New Port Richey to get physi- 
cally ready for the trek ahead. 

My brother, who was the only one who ever knew of our 
plans, took us to the airport that amazing day so long ago. We brought 
our traveling clothes with us and symbolically changed into them in 
the airport, throwing the old life's clothes in the airport bins. We had 
approximately $50 between us as we boarded the plane. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 57 

We took off from Tampa Airport with National Airlines 
sometime in the afternoon on May 31, 1976, changing planes in 
Miami. We had tried to buy one-way tickets as we reasoned they 
might be cheaper, but it was a regulation that we had to have a way 
back from a foreign country. 

I don't remember much of the flight, but I do remember the 
movie that played. It was a Sean Connery film called, The Wind 
and the Lion set in the Middle Eastern desert. The last line of the 
film had us riveted to our seats for the rest of the flight. As I recall, 
there are two men on horseback on a hill looking off into a distant 
sunset. One man asks the other, "Is there not one thing in your life 
that is worth losing everything for?" 

This was our life! This was what we were doing! We had 
just left everything we knew and with which we were comfortable: 
all our friends, family, possessions, jobs, country, orientation to 
the world - everything. 'Someone' was listening and we knew we 
were doing the absolute right thing. Through all this time we had 
operated by what I now call 'navigating by synchronicity.' In the 
late 70's, they just called you crazy when you did this. We noticed 
things around us, in our lives, and how we matched up with what 
was going on or not. This is not so uncommon these days and 
remains my prime mode of deciphering appropriate direction on 
the Journey. These synchronous events can be markers letting one 
know that one is on the right track. An expansive feeling in the 
body is accompanied by this, and when one is on the right track, 
things go remarkably smoothly. When one is forcing the issue, led 
by ego, not Spirit, such as our blighted trip to NY, there are many 
obstacles all around and nothing seems to work out. 

The food on the plane was good in those days and there 
was plenty of it. They kept feeding us and they also had stainless 
steel cutlery. Ah, the good old days! Neither of us slept a wink and 
when we landed at Heathrow airport about 7 am, were in a kind 
of a surreal daze. As we stood up to disembark, the song from 
Tommy, "Listening To You", came on the Muzak system: Another 
navigational marker. We were blown away, vibrating with enough 
enthusiasm to fuel the plane back to America! 



1 58 Finding God In North Carolina 

When the immigration official asked for our reason for vis- 
iting England and how much money we had with us, we said we 
were hiking and that we had $300. Was this the right answer? We 
breathed again as he waved us on. 

The hugeness and bustle of such a large airport with 
so many nationalities had an odd effect on me. I began to with- 
draw and become fearful for the first time since seeing the film 
that launched this excursion. I realized that maybe not everyone in 
the world liked Americans and we might be targets for something 
awful to happen. I was afraid to purchase food because we had to 
talk and our accents would give us away. I kept having visions of 
being knifed. The Vietnam War was still a painful awareness, and 
later, when someone would ask if I was an American or a Canadian, 
I would say I was Canadian. I could not bring myself to admit to my 
heritage. I identified too strongly with the negative world-view of 
Americans and wasn't able to be a separate entity. 

We got out of the airport and wondered which way to go. 
We had not been able to find a map of London in the US at that 
time: another effect of pre-Internet days, so we had to wing it, 
as they say. I noticed the flow of traffic and saw a huge tunnel 
through which everyone seemed to have to pass. The destination 
was Twickenham, wherever that was. The tunnel was extremely 
long and our back-packs extremely heavy. But the most horrific 
thing about this tunnel experience was the fumes from the vehi- 
cles. There were many more diesel engines in England than we 
had ever experienced and the exhaust was intense! It all just hung 
there in the tunnel. No one stopped us to ask what the hell we were 
doing, and we met no one else in the tunnel, indicating that maybe 
this wasn't such a bright idea after all. We wrapped our scarves 
around our mouths and noses and tried to hold our breath. The tun- 
nel seemed endless. We were going to die of monoxide poisoning 
immediately upon arrival! 

I really, really didn't want to die, although I had told God I 
was willing to if I could get closer to the truth. I wanted to see this 
journey out. See what interesting things might be ahead for us. Ah, 
the feeling of breathing relatively clean air when we emerged 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 59 

from that tunnel was heady to say the least. We carried on walk- 
ing to Feltham where we finally broke down and did get a bus to 
Twickenham. The driver let us off in the High Street near The 
Embankment. John remembers us getting some Horlicks candies 
from a shop and how odd they tasted to us. 

We began exploring the area on foot and walked along The 
Embankment, immediately coming upon No. 2, which was where 
Pete lived at the time. We thought, No, it can 't be that simple, and 
carried on, shortly coming to No. 24 The Embankment, his office. 
Hmmm. It was that simple. We walked around some more. We 
found a beautiful little park, York Gardens, with an impressive 
statue. We walked over the footbridge to Eel Pie Island, back again 
and along the Thames, looking at the houses and wondering if Pete 
really did live there. We noticed a pub, The Barmy Arms, that hung 
its sign up-side-down next door to a small boat yard. 

In the afternoon we ended up in Teddington, the next village 
along the river. We discovered another, larger park with a bowling 
green and a lake. Without dinner, we bedded down for a nap on 
the park benches. It was getting late and we were exhausted, but 
it never seemed to really get dark. By 10 pm it was still not dark 
and engendered a confused and agitated state. The high latitude of 
England meant that in the summer time, it stayed light a whole lot 
longer than we were used to. 

We decided to sleep in the public toilet facilities at the 
Teddington park because we wanted to conserve the meager funds 
we had. This was uncomfortable to say the least, and definitely 
more of what we were not used to. We were terribly frightened of 
someone discovering us, and getting deported for vagrancy before 
we'd had a chance to further our mission. Sometime during the 
night we had to look for alternative accommodation, as it got so 
very cold for some reason. We found our way into the stairwell of 
an apartment building somewhere nearby and slept on telephone 
books for insulation from the cold in the hallway. 

Some time during our second day in England, John called 
Pete's office and talked to our 'contact' man there. He told us Pete 
wouldn't be in today, but to come round tomorrow as he thought 



1 60 Finding God In North Carolina 

Pete would be there then. We spent the day walking around again, 
and ended up in Richmond this time, a few miles away. Just over 
the bridge on the right, we spotted a little Bed and Breakfast that 
doesn't exist anymore. We felt that if we didn't lie upon a bed soon, 
we couldn't go on. The Mayfair was £5 a night! We could do that. 

"No one really holidays in Richmond," was the propria- 
trix's response to our telling her we were on vacation. Yes, we 
were odd folk. There was a little sink in the room and we had to 
share bathroom facilities with other guests. We liked our sink very 
much. We were so utterly exhausted by this time that when we got 
into the room, we fell asleep almost immediately, sleeping right 
through breakfast the following morning - 12 hours straight! We 
were very disappointed that we didn't get our breakfast, but the 
propriatrix gave us some bread and sent us on our way. 

This day felt qualitatively different than the two preceding 
it. Perhaps it was the oddness of being in a foreign country. Oscar 
Wilde had said, after all, that Americans and the English were two 
countries separated by a common language. Perhaps it was jet lag, 
about which we had no concept at the time. Or maybe it was the 
subconscious perception of destiny getting ready to meet itself 
smack square in the face. 

Still lugging our back-packs, we set off for Twickenham 
across Richmond Bridge, past St. Margarets, and through town 
to The Embankment. By this time, my body had had enough of 
unfamiliarity and I was having severe diarrhea with an inability 
to take in food. I stationed myself across from No. 2 in the public 
baths in the quiet, safe corner of my own personal toilet cubicle. 
It was a beautiful facility with polished brass fixtures, heavy hard- 
wood doors and porcelain pull chains on the toilets. The place 
smelled like little old cleaning ladies had been in and done their 
thing a thousand-million times over the years. I was definitely not 
in Kansas! 

Meanwhile, John had taken up the torch and was on his 
way to No. 24, Pete's office. Several minutes passed and I got what 
I can only call a strong knowing feeling wash through my whole 
body. Just then I heard, "Hey, guess who I just talked to?" John 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 161 

was outside the public toilet's window. I answered, "Pete." Yes, 
indeed he had just spoken to Pete while I was in the toilet strug- 
gling with my bodily functions. Good man! 

I quickly got myself together and met John outside. He 
explained that when Pete had answered his knock, John had said, 
"We've come to do the work of the Master." They exchanged some 
words and then John excused himself to come and get the other 
part of 'we.' As I walked with John toward No. 24, 1 suddenly felt 
the overwhelming heaviness and sickness lift from me. I had the 
distinct impression of floating about three inches from the ground 
and felt unusually well. 

Now, here we faced the door that would open in a moment 
and a new life would begin. We knocked. We heard an accented, 
"Come in!" As we pushed open the door, there was Pete at the 
other end of the hall, in the kitchen. He leaned backwards looking 
out toward us and greeted us warmly. No indication that he thought 
we were lunatics or that he might at any moment call the authori- 
ties to drag us kicking and screaming from the house. 

I remember very little detail of what transpired next except 
that we ended up in the front room of the house where his office 
had just been, moved to its new location, a couple miles along the 
river to a place he called Oceanic. There were some chairs and his 
secretary's large desk, but everything else was bare. We spoke at 
length and I told Pete, "We are here to help you." 

During our time of planning this adventure, John and I 
realized the importance of what we first said should we actually 
meet with Pete. We really needed to get across the feeling that 
we were being led in some way. Neither John nor I knew why 
we were saying what we were saying, but it seemed to us that 
these two statements were what it was all about. Perhaps they 
would convey a deeper meaning than the mere words, or any 
words ever could. 

During this initial conversation Pete kept mentioning the 
place called Oceanic as if we should know what the heck he was 
talking about. At one point, probably noticing our blank expres- 
sions, he asked, "Haven't you been getting the newsletters, aren't 



1 62 Finding God In North Carolina 

you aware of the center I am building to Meher Baba?" Pete 
assumed that we had been cognizant of his plans to create a center 
to Meher Baba in the London area and that we had been inspired 
to come over in response to this. Nope! We hadn't a clue. We saw 
Tommy, knew the writer could tell us about God and here we were. 
I think that threw him a little. 

He asked us where we were staying and since we'd just 
about run out of funds, it wasn't lying to say, "the park." It also 
sounded better than, "The stair well of an apartment building." 
He next told us to come back around 3 pm. He had some work to 
do and he needed to consult with the person who was staying in 
this house on the second floor, a New York editor whom he had 
brought in to work on a project called O Parvardigar. He said that 
if it was okay with Ginny, we could "stay here tonight and then 
we'll see." 

Wow! That scenario never crossed our minds. So, leaving 
our heavy back-packs there in his former office we took off, light 
as feathers, both figuratively and literally. We spent the rest of the 
day walking around town again, exploring the area and discussing 
what we thought had just happened. 

We arrived promptly at 3 pm and Pete once again answered 
our knock. He told us everything was set and we could spend the 
night. He then showed us to the top, third floor, of the Georgian 
terraced house where we would be staying. The brown carpeted, 
enclosed spiral stairs opened into one rather large room by English 
standards. It had a bed, piles of artwork on the floor in one corner 
and a beautiful black and white photograph of Meher Baba from 
1925 on the mantle piece. It was immediately and remains my 
favorite photo of Baba. 

We sat on the bed and talked a little and then Pete asked, 
"Would you allow me to buy you dinner?" The way in which the 
question was asked really took us off guard. It was so humble and 
unassuming - almost shy. We of course said yes. He immediately 
ran down stairs and was gone for quite some time leaving us won- 
dering if we really had heard correctly, or had we made up the 
whole scenario and were really in the lunatic asylum. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 63 

Some time later, he arrived back with boxes of Indian food. 
The aroma transported us to yet another different world. We stood 
in the small kitchen downstairs eating from the take out boxes, 
talking. Up till then I had been vegetarian for several years. When 
I mentioned that to Pete he said, "It matters more what comes out 
of your mouth than what goes in it." That struck me as being very 
true as I took a bite of chicken curry. It was so good! 

I don't know how long we talked, nor all the things we 
talked about. The only other definitive statement that I remember 
Pete making was, "You know, Meher Baba is the Avatar." Both 
John and I remember knowing what that meant: God in human 
form. In my head I thought, Oh, yeah, of course. Baba is the 
Avatar. It all made sense and I accepted it completely. 

Then, just as Pete was getting ready to leave, he gave us a 
copy of the key to the house and £40 spending money. We stood 
there with our energetic mouths open, if not the physical ones. 
After a bit, we went upstairs to the room at the top of the house and 
were on top of the world. 

The next few days presented a lot of sensory stimuli as we 
began the process of acclimation. Not only did we stay that night 
at No. 24, but it was to us, over the next 1 8 months, home. The next 
day we were taken to see Oceanic. It was a former boathouse - 
actually where they built boats - on the River Thames in sight of 
Richmond lock. Baba had once stayed in Richmond overlooking 
the river and had spent some minutes focusing on this area. It was felt 
by many to be no coincidence that many young people in the 60 's 
gravitated to this area to hear about Baba and subsequently settled 
there. 

No one else had helped with Oceanic financially as far as I 
am aware, but Murshida Duce, a Sufi master in America, longtime 
devotee of Meher Baba and friend of Pete's, had told him pro- 
phetically that Baba would send people to help him with the Oce- 
anic project. Pete told us much later that we were the first of these 
'helpers' to arrive. And so the words we had spoken to him upon 
our first meeting did have special meaning although that eluded us 
at the time. 



164 Finding God In North Carolina 

A day or two after our arrival Pete was talking to us in 
the downstairs used-to-be-office, and casually asked us about our 
families and what they had thought about our decision to come to 
England. When he discovered that no one knew where we were, he 
was very concerned, and told us we could stay here and work for 
him at Oceanic only under one condition: we contact our parents 
and let them know we were all right. He said it was important to 
parents to know that their children were safe, had a place to sleep 
and food to eat. So we dutifully wrote letters to our respective 
families and told them what we'd done. I do not remember the 
responses, but I corresponded regularly over the years via letter 
from then on. I did not get back home to Florida until 1982. 

During this conversation it became clear that we'd only 
brought the clothes on our backs, plus a change of underwear. 
Maybe Pete asked because he always saw us in the same things, 
I'm not sure how it came about. However, we were again surprised 
by Pete's generosity and trust when he gave us the key to his house 
and told us that in the basement was a trunk of discarded clothing 
both he and Karen, his wife, had stored. We were to go and choose 
what we wanted. We were dumb founded to be sure, but had such 
a good time exploring that trunk, choosing many wonderful items 
that were much more appropriate for the English weather. 

The Summer of 1976 was uncharacteristically warm for 
England, but to us it was normal for Floridians and we didn't know 
any better. We would walk along the river from The Embankment, 
with our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in little paper bags, to 
Oceanic. The huge horse chestnut trees with their beautiful bright 
green foliage, the romantic presence of the Thames with the glint- 
ing sun on its gentle ripples gave the whole area an idyllic cast. 
History had happened here! King Henry the VIII traveled from 
London to Windsor on the river, stopping at Eel Pie Island, across 
from No. 2, to rest along the way. Queen Elizabeth I had died at 
Richmond Palace. Alexander Pope had lived nearby, and... well, 
history just resounded off the pavement, trees, and buildings. 

Oceanic itself, The Boathouse, was amazing. It was still in 
the process of being fitted out when John and I took up our first 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 65 

positions as sweepers-up of-rubble after the builders had finished 
a job. Soon, however Pete discovered we both had other talents. I 
had office experience and could type. He set me to work transcrib- 
ing interviews with older Baba Lovers that he had filmed for pos- 
terity to be stored in the archives of Oceanic. John had a talent for 
sound engineering and became valuable in that role. 

My transcribing job was very helpful to me in that I got a 
crash course in Baba history by listening to those who had been 
close to him in the early days. There was Fred Marks, who lived 
in Barnes nearby whom we met on our first visit to Oceanic. Delia 
DeLeon also lived nearby in Kew and was a very important person 
to many young people who wanted to know about Baba in the 60's. 
Pete was one of those. Kim Grajera, Kitty Davy, Anita Viellard, 
Tom and Dorothy Hopkins were some others that educated me in 
those first days at Oceanic all of whom attended the Opening. 

John got similar lessons by working on a series of tapes 
recorded by Dara Irani in India of Adi K. Irani's talks about Meher 
Baba. Adi had been Baba's secretary for years and was going to be 
special guest of honor at the Opening Ceremonies. 

The Opening of Oceanic was a gala event in my mind. 
People came from all over the world. People who loved Baba, who 
had lived with Baba, old and young. From America, France, India 
and Australia. I was in awe of it all and tried to stay out of the way. 
My extreme shyness didn't serve me well, and I missed quite a lot 
of valuable interaction, and memories, by being such a shrinking 
violet. Instead of participating in the events, we worked behind 
the scenes. We moved and set up chairs, served food, helped in the 
kitchen and did various runnings-around as needed. One thing that 
had always been painful for me was being waited on. As a young 
person, if there was work to be done, I wanted to be doing it. 

On the afternoon of July 3, 1976, just one month to the day 
of our first meeting Pete, Adi K. Irani cut a pink ribbon at the 
entrance to Oceanic and the festivities officially began. I found the 
discarded ribbon afterwards and have taken it with me on all my 
other journeys through life, one of few mementos of the period. 
Then Adi ceremonially planted a tree by the side of Oceanic, that 



1 66 Finding God In North Carolina 

is still there today. Pete later announced onstage that Extend, the 
crew who renovated The Boathouse, had just left about an hour 
ago! It's always down to the wire with Baba. 

Baba has always attracted so many gifted people. There 
were skits and plays, musical offerings, films, talks, culinary 
delights, and lots of fun. There were lighting, sound, props and 
other theatrical arts that were seemingly effortlessly expressed. 

Pete sang O Parvardigar, Bargain, and When They Begin 
the Beguine (Baba had requested this song to be played when he 
dropped the body), as well as quite a few other songs and was an 
excellent host. I think of how special this time was to be in the 
presence of such devotion to Meher Baba. It was truly a Sahavas 
for us all. 

On the evening of the first night, John and I were cleaning 
up after most people had gone home. Jack Small, who was Adi's 
aide then, was there and we were chatting in the auditorium. It had 
all been such an overwhelming outpouring of love for the Avatar we 
were buzzing. John suddenly blurted out, "Thank God for Baba!" 
We all had a good laugh at that before we said good night and went 
off to our respective beds to rest up for the next day's activities. 

The big event of the whole celebration was the much antic- 
ipated Delia film. This was a special project that Pete had been 
editing in the basement of No. 24 when we first arrived. We would 
frequently hear the high-pitched scramble of sound issuing from 
below as he rewound the footage again and again through the 
Picsync, a simple editing machine. Delia DeLeon was one of Meher 
Baba's first western women disciples in the early 30's. With her 
brother she had run the local Q Theatre and she really had a flare 
for the theatrical and dramatic. Delia was short, but dynamic, with 
rouged cheeks, perfumed and quaffed hair, and sported a leopard 
skin coat in the cooler months. She spoke in an aristocratic manner 
and expected people to 'jump to' when she requested something. 
She was definitely a 'character' as they say, and I found it very dif- 
ficult to understand the whole 'Delia scene'. As the years passed, 
however, and I matured, I saw her much differently and came to 
respect and love her too. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 167 

So, the christening of Oceanic came and went; but our ini- 
tiation into the Baba community was on-going. We now had the 
great task of settling into the 'normal' daily activities of work and 
'fitting in' if we could. Actually, John and I acclimatized quite rap- 
idly and well to our foreign surroundings, but the English found it 
more challenging to acclimatize to us. We discovered the working 
class pub scene and perhaps part of my memory loss of this time 
is due to the huge amounts of alcohol that passed my young lips, 
which, of course, was a reaction to a constant niggling in the back 
of my mind like that which echoed at the end of the movie, The 
Candidate: "Now what?" 

After discovering the Avatar I couldn't see what there was 
left to do. I had attained a great goal at a young age. I spent the 
next 10 years wandering ever deeper into the dark night of the soul 
fully discovering for myself what precisely there was left to do. 
But when Baba pushed me away, our reunion was ever sweeter; 
and that is another story altogether. 

It has taken some time, but I now feel more at peace with 
myself, how Baba operates in my life, and the ways of Maya than 
ever before. Perhaps wisdom really does come with age after all. 
It is an exciting time of consciousness shifting in the world and 
Baba's New Humanity, I believe, is us. My generation is, once 
again, the vanguard of change, helping to bring into being some of 
what Baba wished for humanity - to truly know that you and I are 
not we, but one. 

After nearly a decade, Zuzanna returned home to Chapel 
Hill in January 2008. She originally settled in the area in 1991, 
upon repatriating from England. 



Charlotte 



Rita Gordon 

From my earliest memory I was thinking about God. My pater- 
nal grandparents and dad were Pentecostal Holy rollers. My dad 
attended my mom's Methodist church throughout their brief mar- 
riage, but occasionally I would go to the Pentecostal church and 
hear my aunts, grandmother and father speak in tongues and hol- 
ler out in this fire and brimstone church. I was never afraid nor 
repulsed. When my parents divorced when I was age 11,1 would 
then go to church with my dad, as I stayed with him throughout the 
weekends. I knew I wasn't a Pentecostal, but that old time religion 
did set more afire my already seeking mind and heart. I thought 
about Jesus all of the time. 

In my teens, in the 1960's, the world began to change 
around me. It was an extremely intense time which suited my 
extremely intense nature. I was totally caught up in the spiritual 
and cultural revolution of the 60's including experimentation 
with drugs. I immediately associated drugs with my spiritual 
search, especially LSD use. The hippie garb and idealistic social 
consciousness fit me to a tee. Now this was something I could 
identify with!! 



1 70 Finding God In North Carolina 

I became interested in things like astrology, which I still 
love, and also attended briefly a spiritualist church that was led 
by a couple of mediums! At the end of the service they would do 
'readings'! All of this opened my mind though, to more all encom- 
passing ideas that I had not been exposed to in my youth. I identi- 
fied myself as a 'seeker' 

Ram Dass's book Be Here Now opened the door to Eastern 
thought and religion for me. It was also the first glimpse of Meher Baba 
I had, even though the images were drawings, and I even unknow- 
ingly used His quotes when putting together a spiritual notebook as a 
gift for my mother's birthday. He wasn't ready yet though, to reveal 
His identity to me. However, the fire of the search was building, and 
I was in a state of unrest because of it. I began to overuse drugs and 
alcohol and relationships to try to fill that void. I flitted from book to 
book trying to fill myself with every bit of knowledge about God that 
I could find. Like the burning out of the 60 's itself, I too ended up in an 
unbalanced state with failed relationships and too many consciousness 
altering experimentations! I wanted to stay in an altered state to feel 
that holy spot within, but as we know that is the ultimate falsehood. 

In the mid 70 's I was turned on to Transcendental Medita- 
tion. This began a new chapter in my search. As usual I wanted it 
all yesterday. It did calm my mind, allowed me to begin to make 
some personal changes in my life, and opened for me the inner 
desire to clean up my act. 1 didn't exactly clean it up then, but it 
set the desire for it in motion! I took the Siddhi's course and went 
to retreats and discovered the most amazing coincidence: When 
I was with fellow meditators and doing advanced meditations, 
some meditators would. ..voila... speak in the same utterances that I 
heard in the Pentecostal church growing up. They would speak in 
tongues!! This caused a great amusement within me. 

By 1 978 I had moved from my hometown of Rockford, 
Illinois to Charlotte, North Carolina. A geographical cure of sorts, 
that took a while to take effect. 

Eventually I found that while I had a love and admiration 
and reverence for Maharishi and his guru, I just could not accept 
him as my Master. I started searching around again and became 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 7 1 

attracted to Paramahansa Yogananda through Autobiography of a 
Yogi. By this time I truly began to reach the apex of almost entirely 
cleaning up my act. Not quite though!! The desire was stronger 
and stronger, but the body was weak. Anyway, I began studying 
Kriya Yoga and meditating more and more, and still also incorpo- 
rating my TM practice into my day as well. I became a meditating 
fool! And finally, after a series of terribly embarrassing events, I 
turned my life and my will over to a power greater than myself and 
finally found a way to truly begin living a new life. That was in 
February of 1980. It was a momentous surrendering turning point 
in my life and when I believe Baba finally turned the key to open 
me to receive His grace and to know of Him. 

I began to have the thought that while I adored Yogananda, 
once again, try as I might, I could not accept him or his gurus as 
my Master. TM and Yogananda were wonderful and were for- 
ever embedded respectfully in my being, but the drive to find my 
Master was bigger and more prevalent than ever in my mind and 
heart. I said out loud one day, "If I am going to have a Master, 
I am going to have a Perfect Master!" And while I still loved 
Jesus deeply, I knew intuitively that it was something beyond 
that form that I was seeking. 

The printing company I worked for in Charlotte also 
employed an elderly man named Walter Creasy Overcarsh. He was 
a proofreader, I was a typesetter. The printing business is either feast 
or famine. One night in August of 1980 there was nothing to do and 
so everyone was sent home except for Walter and me, in case any job 
should come in. We worked the second shift in this large three shift 
company. I was reading (as usual) a spiritual book. I had pegged Wal- 
ter as the typical southern Christian man. He rarely said anything but 
was a sweet man. He approached me that night and asked me what I 
was reading. I ducked the book under my desk and said simply, "Oh, 
a spiritual book." He replied that he used to read books like that, but 
that he had found something that went beyond that. I began to have 
the thought that while I adored Yogananda, once again, try as I might, 
I could not accept him or his gurus as my Master. TM and Yogananda 
were wonderful and were forever embedded respectfully in my being, 



172 Finding God In North Carolina 

but the drive to find my Master was bigger and more prevalent than 
ever in my mind and heart. I said out loud one day, "If I am going to 
have a Master, I am going to have a Perfect Master!" And while I still 
loved Jesus deeply, I knew intuitively that it was something beyond 
that form that I was seeking. 

The printing company I worked for in Charlotte also 
employed an elderly man named Walter Creasy Overcarsh. He was 
a proofreader, I was a typesetter. The printing business is either 
feast or famine. One night in August of 1980 there was nothing to 
do and so everyone was sent home except for Walter and me, in 
case any job should come in. We worked the second shift in this 
large three shift company. I was reading (as usual) a spiritual book. 
I had pegged Walter as the typical southern Christian man. He 
rarely said anything but was a sweet man. He approached me that 
night and asked me what I was reading. I ducked the book under 
my desk and said simply, "Oh, a spiritual book." He replied that 
he used to read books like that, but that he had found something 
that went beyond that, response for some reason was, "Eastern or 
Western?" He said, "Eastern," and my interest woke up. 

He then proceeded to tell me about Meher Baba. I knew 
immediately this was the answer to my desire for a Perfect Master. I 
even said internally in a rather annoyed tone, "Well, there you are!" 
I took to Baba like a duck to water. Within a couple of years I had 
gone to India and after that my life changed even more. I married 
and had a child. Baba is my hub, my center, my heart. Walter left the 
printing company shortly after telling me about Meher Baba with 
the comment, "Now I know why I had to work here for a while." 
He's long ago passed away, but I will always cherish Walter. And 
it left a deeply humbling impression on me that God would orches- 
trate moving Walter within my orbit to share about Meher Baba. It 
personalized God and His form as Meher Baba for me. 

I was thinking before sitting down to write this story that 
after 'finding' Baba I no longer felt like a seeker in that gnawing 
way. Of course I am always wanting to flower and to love Him 
more and more, but a great fulfilling took place when I was reunited 
with my Master teacher. I picked up the book The Everything and 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 173 

The Nothing tonight and it opened to page 1 00 which was entitled, 
"Purposelessness in Infinite Existence". I won't quote the whole 
reading but this excerpt sums up the fulfilling of that one most 
important piece of the puzzle for this seeker: 

Everything exists only because it has a purpose. The 
moment that purpose has been accomplished, everything disap- 
pears and Existence is manifested as self-existing Self. Love alone 
is devoid of all purpose and a spark of Divine Love sets fire to all 
purposes. The Goal of Life in Creation is to arrive at purposeless- 
ness, which is the state of Reality. 

Arriving at the state of Reality, of course, is my and every 
other being's goal and purpose, and I do long for that. However, 
the purpose of finding Meher Baba as my guru, my God, has 
been accomplished and that particular driving purpose disap- 
peared. Now I only long to be consumed by the spark of Divine 
Love that sets fire to all purposes. I know I am in good hands 
with Meher Baba, to bring that sole purpose to fruition. I'm one 
lucky girl. 

Rita lived in Charlotte from the late 1970's to early 1980's 
and now lives in Cary. 

Patricia Nims 

To tell you how I came to know about Meher Baba, we have to go 
all the way back to my to my childhood. I had just turned six years 
old and there was a group of children playing cowboys and Indians 
in our backyard. My brother Mike and I tied our oldest member 
and neigborhood bully, Ricky, to our kumquat tree. The rope he 
used was hard to untie and so he went into the house to get the 
scissors. Our mom was in bed with the flu. While Mike was in the 
house getting the scissors, Ricky untied himself and was ready to 
pounce. Ricky was 13 and my brother was 9. As Mike came out 
with the scissors, I saw where this was going, so I grabbed the 
scissors from Mike and threw them into the bushes. This infuriated 



1 74 Finding God In North Carolina 

Ricky and he came at me. He threw me to the ground and grabbed 
my left left leg and twisted it. It snapped. You could hear it all over 
the yard. Time stopped. 

From this time onward, my life took a drastic turn. At the 
hospital x-rays were taken and a cyst the size of a grapefruit was 
found where my left femur bone should have been. I was missing 
four inches of bone. Somehow, I had been walking that way for a 
long time. Multiple surgeries, four years in a body cast and living 
in a crippled childrens' home changed my world view and gave me 
a chance to see others who were in much worse shape than I. Even 
though I lived in the childrens home almost longer than anyone 
else, I knew that one day I would be able to walk. I held onto this 
belief and it kept me from sinking into despair. 

I often asked my momma why this happened to me and she 
would say, "Jesus hurts those he loves the most." I never was quite 
sure what that meant, but I assumed that Jesus must love me very 
much. So began my search for the Beloved. I was raised a Methodist 
and at the children's home our Sunday School teacher was a Baptist. 

When I finally came home at age 10, 1 went back to being 
a Methodist so I could sing in the choir. I was still in pain after all 
the surgeries. I had a steel pin with screws put in my hip at age 13 
and my doctor did not believe in giving out pain killers so I found 
what I could to get me through. I raided my friends' parent's medi- 
cine cabinets. I smoked pot and tried LSD. Big mistake. My crowd 
at school were the hippies, the misfits, the only ones who would 
embrace me: damaged goods. 

My mom sent me to group therapy and it was there that I 
made all my best drug connections. I fell in love with two of the 
fellow patients and managed to lose both of them. The last one, 
Paul, had decided to go to the University of South Florida and I 
had only applied to that school. Even though we broke up before 
the end of the school year, I had to go there because I had nowhere 
else to go. 

That summer my dad and I went to Tampa to the University 
of South Florida for a weekend so I could take the CLEP tests to 
see if I already had enough knowledge to bypass several hours of 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 175 

credit. It turned out that I was able to bypass 45 credit hours and 
could start school as a sophomore. 

That evening my Daddy stayed in the dorm and I went to a 
coffee house called the Empty Keg which had live music. I sat at 
a table near the front with a couple and mentioned to them that the 
singer sounded like Joni Mitchell. The guy said, "Did you know 
that Joni Mitchell is a Baba lover?' I said, "What's a Baba lover?" 
He hemmed and hawed and finally said, "Give me your address 
and I'll send you some literature in a week or two." 

Somehow, I knew my life was about to change in a big 
way. Just hearing the name Meher Baba had seemed right to me. 
I went back home and waited and waited. It seemed like time just 
stopped. Finally one day, about 3 weeks later, I got a card in the 
mail from the guy, Stephen Patrick, who had been at my table at 
the coffee house. With the card was a pamphlet with Baba's picture 
on the front, the Universal Message, a biography of Baba and "The 
Seven Realities." Everything about Baba made perfect sense and I 
became His. Steven also told me that when I got to school I should 
look in the student newspaper for a message that would say, "Any- 
body interested in learning about Meher Baba, call this number." 
When I got to school, I got the paper and called the number. A man 
named John Welshon answered the phone and told me there would 
be Baba meetings in his apartment every Sunday afternoon. 

Despite this Baba connection, I was still doing drugs and 
immediately started taking as many drugs as I could. I was lost 
and had no bearings. My roommate tried to rape me in the mid- 
dle of the night and scared me to death. I didn't even know what 
homosexuality was. As a result of the incident, I was admitted to 
the infirmary where I had a nervous breakdown brought on by the 
trauma of the assault and having taken an overdose of drugs. It was 
as if Baba was taking me to the edge and I would have to make a 
decision — keep taking drugs or stop taking drugs and learn how to 
be a proper Baba lover. 

Big decision. What to do? When I got out of the infirmary, 
I got a new roommate, and took my stash and flushed it down 
the toilet. I started going to the Baba meetings where we read the 



1 76 Finding God In North Carolina 

Discourses out loud to each other. I found my true family, my 
Baba family. I started going to the Meher Spiritual Center where 
I met many wonderful people who were seekers like me. What a 
wonderful gift. 

But my story doesn't end there. After one year in Tampa, 
I decided I wanted to be an occupational therapist and go to the 
University of Florida in Gainesville. I moved there to go to school. 
About that time, I found out from some friends that the brother of a 
female friend of theirs, Bruce, needed a wife, but was very shy. He 
would need someone to knock on his door and say, "Here I am." My 
friends, who were Baba lovers, suggested I go to his apartment and 
ask him if he wanted to get together and plan Baba's birthday. 

On Feb. 2, 1974, I knocked on Bruce's door and handed 
him a note I had already written and said, "Read this first." With 
the Brandenburg concerto playing in the background, he read the 
note, took me in his arms and gave me a big wonderful Baba hug. 
Two months and one day later, we were married. We have two 
wonderful children, Josh and Amelia, who are both happily mar- 
ried and have wonderful jobs. Bruce and I have now been married 
for 32 years. 

My life has been so blessed. Even though I had to retire 
in 1996 on disability and now must use a wheelchair most of the 
time, I've managed to go to India twice (1994 and 1995), visit 
Baba's tomb and meet the mandali. Baba has given me a quiet 
space to contemplate His love and to hear His gentle reminders 
that He is always right here beside me. I don't have visions or hear 
voices, but there is always an abundance of things happening that 
let me know that Baba is giving me help and encouragement all 
the time. 

Patricia attended Baba meetings in Charlotte in the 1970's 
and 1980's and now lives in South Carolina near the border of 
North Carolina. 



Durham 



Evan Ashkin 

When I was in high school at The Putney School in Vermont, my 
roommate was Alex Loumis. I was searching, trying to figure out 
'the big picture.' Alex's older brother, Peter, was a Baba lover and 
visited occasionally. Peter would come by and didn't really tell me 
much about Baba, but he used to carry a picture of Him. So I heard 
a little bit about Baba. 

I wanted to go to India to look for God after high school, 
but my father convinced me to go to college first, so in 1979, I 
went to University of Santa Cruz in California. At Santa Cruz I 
was reading Carlos Castenada, Autobiography of a Yogi and other 
stuff. Alex sent me a Baba book, Listen Humanity, and I was really 
taken with it. But I thought, This guy is too much saying he is 
God, No, this isn 't God. This guy thinks he s God. But everything 
sounded exactly right to me, so I was pretty intrigued. 

In February, 1 980, 1 decided to go to India. Alex had become 
a Baba lover by then and I had gone to the Center at Myrtle 
Beach with him and met Kitty. But I was definitely not a Baba 
lover. On the plane from Egypt to Bombay, there were a bunch of 
people who were going to the Rajneesh Ashram and I landed in 



1 78 Finding God In North Carolina 

Bombay with them. When I got to Bombay, I knew Baba's place 
was in Ahmednagar, but I didn't really know where it was. Almost 
immediately upon landing in Bombay I opened a newspaper right 
to a picture of Meher Baba. It was an ad for His birthday party 
somewhere in Bombay. 

I thought, Oh cool. So I figured out where the party was. It was 
a movie house and was packed! I sat down next to a lovely woman 
who immediately introduced herself to me and said, "Oh where are 
you from?" Obviously I was a westerner and she said, "You've got to 
go to Ahmednagar." And she told me how to get there. 

On the way to Ahmednagar, I went through Poona where all 
these Rajneesh people I had hung out with on the plane had gone to 
the Rajneesh Ashram. So I thought, Ok great. I'll go I'll check out 
Rajneesh and then I'll go to Ahmednagar. As soon as I got there, 
the whole Rajneesh thing just turned me off completely. I was so 
amazed that these people didn't see what a sham the whole thing 
was the moment we got there. And they were all, "This is great!" 
and I was just appalled. The ashram was saying, "You pay more 
money, you get more classes. The more money you pay, you get to 
be closer to Rajneesh." I thought, You 've got to be kiddingl 

One interesting experience occurred when I was returning 
one night from town to the Ashram with two of these guys in a 
motorized rickshaw. A dog ran out in front of the rickshaw and the 
driver hit him. Furious, the driver turned around and said, "You 
people!" He was totally blaming our karma. Like, "You Rajneesh 
followers!" He was really pissed. 

At the ashram everyone was smoking pot and having sex. 
It was such a sham! I did go to a darshan program with Rajneesh. 
And there was no question that the guy had significant presence. He 
was probably the most powerful presence I've ever experienced. 
So I could understand why people were taken with this guy. It was 
very powerful being around him. I still wasn't intrigued at all to 
follow him, but I was definitely impressed with his personal power. 
I think I left the next day. Also everyone was really unfriendly. "Oh 
you're not a Rajneesh devotee." The whole thing was just totally 
negative. No one was friendly, no one was inviting. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 79 

So I left Poona by bus for Ahmednagar and I wound up com- 
ing into town right next to the Trust office. I literally got off the bus 
and ran into a Baba person. It was totally the opposite experience 
of what I had had at the Rajneesh Ashram. Like,"Oh! How are you 
doing? Are you here to meet Meher Baba?" Everyone was pretty 
shocked that I knew nothing really about Baba. That I just sorta 
showed up. People could not have been nicer! Everyone was stay- 
ing at some little compound in town. It was right before the Pilgrim 
Center opened. No pretense. No, "Oh, you don't know Meher Baba. 
You're out of it." Everyone was just super friendly and I immediately 
felt welcomed. I was also impressed that people seemed respectful 
of the local customs. The whole thing was a positive experience. 

They said, "Oh we're going to Meherazad tomorrow. 
Come along and meet the mandali." Someone might have given 
me another Baba book too. I got on the bus the next day and we 
pulled up to Meherazad and everyone got off. Eruch and the man- 
dali were standing on the porch greeting people. I walked up to 
Eruch and he opened his arms and gave me this big hug and said, 
"Welcome home brother!" 

I had this unbelievable experience where all of a sudden 
I felt like I was falling back in time to the beginning - three bil- 
lion years back! And then 'Vroom!' right back up. I was all of a 
sudden back! It was a timeless thing. I looked at him and didn't 
know what to think. Nothing like that had ever happened before. 
That was REALLY intense. I don't think Eruch had a clue about 
my experience. He didn't give me any indication that he did. He 
was just ready to hug the next person. But that certainly had an 
impact! I was just completely open at that point. 

Just after my arrival, Adi died and everyone was in mourn- 
ing. I went to Meherabad and they were burying him. I had no idea 
who these people were. It opened my heart to Baba. Then later I 
was in the tomb just sitting around meditating and Baba appeared 
in front of me. I grabbed Him around His legs and, in my mind, 
I heard Him say, "It's okay." I just started weeping and sobbing. 
He had His hands on my head. That was another moment that felt 
intense. From that point on I was pretty hooked. 



1 80 Finding God In North Carolina 

I stayed for about a month and a half in Ahmednagar until 
they kicked us out because of the hot season. I was at the tomb 
every day, and also went to Meherazad and felt wonderful connec- 
tions with everybody there. I knew so little about Baba. I remem- 
ber I was sitting in Mandali Hall one day and Eruch goes, "So 
where are you from?" And I said, "Croton, New York." I had no 
idea Baba had been in Croton, New York. And Eruch said, "Oh, 
another seed has sprouted!" Everyone kept being amazed I knew 
nothing about Baba. Eruch said that the first place Baba went when 
He got to the States was Croton-on-Harmon. That was the town I 
grew up in. Eruch was still vigorous then. We'd walk up Seclusion 
Hill. Mani was dancing around and Bal Natu was there too. 

When the hot season came, I went trekking in Nepal on a 
little loop and then I came back for the Pilgrim Center opening, 
which was great. I was with the first group of people to stay in the 
Pilgrim Center. It was lovely and beautiful and I stayed until the 
end of the summer. That's how I came to Baba. 

Evan lives in Durham. 



Maggie Butler 

My sister and I never had very much in common so perhaps this 
fact entered into my initial attraction to the woman who has come 
to seem like a sister to me. Carol Gunn and I met in the late 1970's 
when our sons were in school together at Carolina Friends School 
in Durham, North Carolina. From Carol I then had the great good 
fortune to learn about Meher Baba and to begin my intimate rela- 
tionship with the one who has become my all-in-all, mother, father, 
sister, brother and best friend. 

When I subsequently met with Kitty Davy for my inter- 
view with her at the Meher Spiritual Center in 1980 I asked her 
this question, "What does He want with me now that I've fallen 
for Him?" Kitty said, "Why don't you go to the Lagoon Cabin and 
have a talk with Him about that?" I did go to the Lagoon Cabin 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 181 

and He answered. And thus began our conversation, the one that 
continues to this very moment. 

Maggie grew up in Raleigh, lived in Durham and now lives 
in South Carolina. 



Cynthia Drake 

I'm almost sixty years old and am sort of a late bloomer in the Meher 
Baba world. But I think of myself as a quick sell. In some ways I'm 
not a likely candidate to be in Baba's world. I was born into a large 
Southern Baptist working class family in Arkansas. I was in the 
church a lot, a lot of church. Three times a week at the church: work- 
ing in the church, playing in the church, singing in the church, lead- 
ing singing in the church, being on committees. That pretty much 
was my monopoly of time. So to me, coming to Baba seemed like a 
big leap, but I was a quick sell and I will tell you why. 

It was difficult in a lot of ways to get through (from a tiny 
age) this fear and judgement which felt like, "This couldn't be right. 
You say God is love and then all this other stuff. Are we the only 
folks who get to be loved by God and other people in other parts of 
the world don't get to?" Very puzzling. I just felt unsatisfied about 
that. But there was enough experience hearing or feeling the loving 
kindness of God that still made me a lover of God. We didn't say 
it that way, but I felt it. But when the preacher said in an ominous 
voice, "You could go out tonight and get killed in a car accident and 
without salvation you're going straight to Hell." That was a com- 
mon voice so I made sure I was saved and that base was covered. 

Then we go forward about twenty years to about 1984. After 
a ugly divorce, I had moved my children to another town in Arkansas, 
the university town of Fayetteville, went back to school and started 
a new life. Right around the comer was a family that we befriended 
very quickly because their children and my children were in the same 
music Suzuki school. And the man of the house there was named 
Tim. A big man. A smart man. A beautiful man, a big thinker. And it 



1 82 Finding God In North Carolina 

was on Tim's porch that I heard for the first time about Meher Baba. 
It was Tim who told his story about Meher Baba. None of this dis- 
turbed my field. In fact I thought, What a lovely idea. 

That we would come again and again, lifetime after lifetime. 

That was SO liberating to me! I just believed it. You would 
think it would take a long time to work out your soul's work. 70 
years, that's not enough. It was helpful to hear that Meher Baba 
wasn't into fear and judgement as in the stories when He would say, 
"How is your day? How did you sleep last night?" I felt, "That's 
what I needed to hear." Don't worry be happy. Don't worry about 
following rules and regulations and doctrines and dogmas and all 
that stuff. Creeds and ceremonies. Not very useful. That's not where 
the Truth is. It is in this other thing - heart to heart. I felt, "That's 
fine. I believe in Meher Baba" (laughter). It happened that fast. 

About five years later, in 1990, Tim and I married and went 
right to India. We went to Delhi and it was more or less a kind of 
honeymoon/visit to Meherabad trip. At that point I had learned 
and accepted a lot, particularly in my mind. But not until I walked 
in the Samadhi for the first time and burst into tears did I feel I 
had got up into the bowels and been welcomed in a new way. 
It was the first time of really feeling the welcome of God, arms 
wrapped around me, acceptance and loving kindness and walking 
out of the Tomb and getting the gesture from that old man saying, 
"Welcome Home." When I walked out of the Tomb and heard that 
old many say, "Welcome Home," I became a Baba lover without 
a shadow of a doubt. That is my story. 

Cynthia has been living in Durham since 200 1 . 



Tim Garvin 

I first heard Baba's name in 1966 on The Joe Pyne Show. Joe Pyne 
was a television personality and he was the insult host of the day. 
Rick Chapman and Allan Cohen, two young Americans, had just 
been to India to see Baba. They got back to the United States and 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 83 

their message to the world from Baba was, "Don't take drugs. " 
They were on this show. 

Every time you listened to The Joe Pyne Show, you'd stop 
to see if he was going to say something obnoxious. They showed 
a picture of Meher Baba. At the time I was nineteen, I was not 
searching for God. I wasn't sure there was a God. I was very inter- 
ested in philosophy but I didn't know about God. But I was defi- 
nitely interested in the inner being and what the truth of life was, 
so when I heard these guys had just come from a guy who may 
know what the truth is, I stopped and listened. They were mention- 
ing he didn't like you to take drugs. What was so interesting about 
that show (and I talked to Rick Chapman about it later) was that 
it was the only show that I saw that Joe didn't insult the guests. 
He was very respectful and here you'd think that these guys from 
India with a guru, he's really going to hammer them. Here they had 
someone other than Jesus - a guru and the occult, but he was very 
respectful. (Not long after Joe Pyne had a heart attack and died). 

That was the single impression I took away from that show: 
he did not insult them. Rick Chapman later said, "Yes that was 
extraordinary." So I heard Baba's name when He was alive and I 
have always been grateful for that. 

Three years later, in 1 969, 1 was in college at Louisiana State 
University, restless, and taking philosophy classes. I had the experi- 
ence many times of being involved in some philosophical toggle like 
free will. I was just trying to understand my own life, grapple with 
philosophy to own understanding of myself and experience what it 
was like to be in the moment and be a human being. It was so difficult 
because philosophy is a conversation written by people who were 
viewing life with a different lens and you had to be a kind of scholar 
of philosophy. It was so tedious! To get involved in that conversation, 
when what you really wanted was to understand yourself and life, to 
know the truth and get an impression of "Why are we here?" 

I had experiences where I'd browse bookstores, looking 
at titles, and I'd pick up a book and not read it in depth, but skim 
through it and land on somebody's declaration of just the prob- 
lem that I had been deliberating. Reading through that, I suddenly 



1 84 Finding God In North Carolina 

experienced a great sense of overwhelming ennui, world weariness: 
"Even if that problem is solved, my loneliness won't go away." It 
was grippingly poignant for me as a young man without any guid- 
ance, without any mentor. I always think it would have been great 
had someone taken me under their wing and said, "Now brother, 
here's how it is in life, here's what you're going through, and here's 
what it means to be young." Just to give me some structure. In this 
fractured society we live in, it would be great if you could go to the 
corner store and there would be the Indian chief would say, "Now 
brother. . ." A generous spirit who could soothe the heart. Or else a 
hay bale that we could all sit on in a public market and say, "I'm a 
dumb son of a bitch and don't know anything." You could at least 
do down there as a dumb son of a bitch with all the other dumb 
sons of bitches. Because nobody really knows anything. 

But in those days, I was full of egotism and sex and drugs. 
Of course this was in the 60 's, a wild time. I was taking drugs, 
not hard drugs, but I was taking LSD occasionally just for fun. 
Through LSD, I became convinced that there was a reality FAR 
beyond the reality that I was aware of in my surface world. So I 
REALLY became interested and I began to read the testimonies 
of saints and writers. And I stumbled onto the work of Aurobindo 
Ghose. In fact, Aurobindo Ghose is still a great part of my think- 
ing. He's called Sir Aurobindo in the world, but he was the pre- 
eminent spiritual scholar-poet-critic of the 20th century. I don't 
know of anyone I have a higher regard for than Aurobindo Ghose. 
I have his complete works and I read them from time to time. He 
is an insightful presence who gives a structure to the world much 
the same as Baba, but he wasn't an Avatar like Baba. But he was a 
great sixth plane saint who was given realization by Baba at the end 
of his life. He really purified my intellect and gave me the ability to 
think clearly about the human psyche. I looked into the biography 
of Ramakrishna. I just poured through that section of the library at 
LSU. And they had Aurobindo 's Letters to His Disciples. 

This was when I was living at a farm in Gross Tet, Louisiana 
near Baton Rouge with a friend of mine, Doug Blanchard, who 
later died of AIDS. His wife died too. I was so frustrated with 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 185 

my search for God. I was looking for a guru, dedicated to find- 
ing a guru. I thought I needed a master nearby me who could say, 
"Here's how you dress today and here's the chant, and here's how 
long to meditate." Whatever masters did. I didn't know what they 
did but I knew they did something because everybody was talking 
about their masters. So I thought, Well, that's what I need. I went 
down to New Orleans once to look for this supposed master who 
was completely a fraud! But when you 're young, you have a lot of 
energy. But I couldn't find one, thank God. 

I was so frustrated and full of agony that I couldn't find 
a master. It was like there was a big knot and I couldn't find the 
end of the rope. I couldn't find the end of that damn rope! I was 
maddened by this inability to do anything. I meditated and I had 
various experiences of a psychic nature which sharpened the keen- 
ness of my interest in my belief. I just picked up a log one morning 
and I carried it through the woods. I had formed an aspiration that 
welled up within me directed toward the Almighty. I carried the log 
and said, "This is all I can give you. I have nothing else. I cannot 
find the end to unravel this knot." I carried that log as a sort of pen- 
ance or a testimony of my desire, my aspiration. "I can give you 
this. I'm like an ox. I'm a beast of burden. You have to now come 
to me." The next day, I'd get up, get that log and carry it back. 

Then I went to see my friend, Dr. Carl Berryman, my phi- 
losophy mentor in school, who was now teaching at Duquesne 
University in Pittsburgh. I stopped by to see him on the way to a 
camp in Spruce Hill where I taught as a camp counselor and where 
I met my first wife. Carl had a buddy who was a psychology profes- 
sor named Rolf and we went over to Rolf's house. And Rolf's pro- 
tege was Lawrence Reiter, who was living with him. Lawrence and 
I chatted and he told me he was devoted to Baba. So we talked and 
talked and he gave me a book called The Nothing and the Every- 
thing. It was one of many books I had. I had The Tibetan Book of 
the Dead and all those books that just come your way as you are 
browsing bookstores. Krishnamurti, The Autobiography of a Yogi. 

So I left Carl's and went to Spruce Hill. It was the summer 
of the moon shot. On the way back, I stopped at Carl's again. I 



1 86 Finding God In North Carolina 

had read The Nothing and The Everything. In my ignorance, I was 
wondering what plane I was on? Maybe the third, maybe the sec- 
ond? There was a picture of Baba in the book and it was all good, 
but it was in my head and was not useful to me. 

Then we went over to Rolf's again and there was Lawrence 
again and then we talked in-depth about various things. I remem- 
ber we read poems. He was a fan of Edgar Allan Poe. I always 
think of how young men are competitive. So we may have had that 
competition, that feeling of trying to 'one up' the last one. At the 
end of that evening, something very significant happened and that 
was when I became a Baba Lover. As we were getting ready to say 
goodbye (I think Lawrence was coming from the Center - he was 
more radiant than usual), he embraced me in a way that went straight 
to my heart and awakened me. It was a spiritual-psychic thing. It was 
my turn. It was as if he took a ball of love energy and pushed it into 
me. He said "Now you should think about Meher Baba." I just said 
"Oh! That's right!" That was the point in which I was awakened and 
knew it was because of my heart center. I was STRIVING to feel! I 
had complained to Carl, "I can't feel! I can't feel!" At that instant I 
felt it and I knew what was going on. I knew I felt. It was as if my 
heart center had parted! That's what I had been wanting all my life. 

The next day I got on a bus to the Meher Spiritual 
Center and had a rocky experience down there, not spiritually, 
because I felt love. I was on my honeymoon. I read the books, 
the Discourses, and everything you do when you first come. Bob 
Brown was there. I'd make a big pot of stew. That's how I could 
eat. I'd leave that in the refrigerator. Of course I wasn't the only 
one who ate it (laughter). I'd eat on that for several days. I stayed 
there for a couple of weeks and then I was thrown off because I 
had taken drugs with me. Jane called me and said, "Do you have 
drugs?" and I said, "Yeah." As soon as I had got on the Center, I 
had hid them in the woods. I had this stash of drugs either LSD 
or STP and I was wanting to sell them, so I didn't want to throw 
them away. I paid sixty bucks for them. 

So Jane said I had to leave. And I'm in love with Meher 
Baba! It was like I had opened a little bird's throat and I was just 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 87 

pouring this information this nectar of Divinity down my throat. I 
felt! I was actually hugging trees. I would experience a tree. I'd go 
off in the woods and I would just feel! 

So I left the Center, went back and sold those drugs to 
somebody. I took the money I got and I got a bus ticket and about 
a week later I was on a bus going back to the Center. I got to 
Atlanta and I called Jane from a phone booth. I said, "This is Tim 
Garvin. Remember me? I'm the guy who you threw out." She said, 
"Yes, yes." I said, "Well, I'm on my way back." She said, "Well, 
Elizabeth and Kitty are not here yet and I have at least to talk it 
over with them." I said, "Oh Jane, I beg of you. You can't deny me. 
Meher Baba is so important to me now." And so she consented. I 
have always been grateful and have a tender spot in my heart for 
her generosity for this unknown drug addict. 

I went back to the Center and then I stayed a long time, a 
month or two. Bob Brown sort of took me under his wing and edu- 
cated me about sanskaras. We had some conflicts because Bob was 
a little too "spiritual" for my taste. But still I loved Bob. He was 
a nice guy. Many other people were there. Sheila was there. I had 
some interesting experiences. I was out in the boathouse one night 
and suddenly I saw this little picture of Baba out in the distance, 
maybe 100 yards. Everywhere I'd look there that picture would be 
there. During the East- West Sahavas, Baba told a gathering of men, 
"Some of you will see Me tonight. You will see a small picture of 
me." That's what I had seen. 

This was in 1970 when Adi K. Irani came. I had long dis- 
cussions with him and sort of monopolized things. I was so much 
a student of Aurobindo that I would ask him about Aurobindo. 
"What's this about God? Why do I need God? Why do I need Meher 
Baba?" And Adi said, "Oh brother, you don't need Baba. Don't 
take Baba." I said "No! no! I love Baba! I want to know why!" 
Adi himself, it turns out, was a great lover of Aurobindo. In fact 
he had a book of Aurobindo he was carrying around Meherazad 
one time and Baba called him over and said, "What's this? What's 
this by Aurobindo?" Baba took the book and said, "You don't need 
Aurobindo. You have Me." He took the book, but the next day He 



1 88 Finding God In North Carolina 

gave it back to him. Anyway it was great to meet Adi, Kitty and 
Elizabeth and all the mandali that I got to know. Of course I had 
lots of questions and Adi was so patient. 

But the important part of my story at that time was that I 
was in love with Baba but He was dead. So where was my master? 
I need a master! But Adi said, "Baba is the eternal master." I said, 
"Baba said that?! Where does He say that?! Show me where it is in 
the books!" He couldn't and Kitty couldn't either. She said, "I read 
it," and I said, "But where?!" And Adi said, "He's always awake to 
the world. He drops the physical body but His universal body never 
drops." I said, "Where does it say that?!" I pestered him and drove 
him crazy. I would say, "Why do we need Baba? What's the use of 
Baba? What leverage can He provide to pry this ego away?" And 
he would say, "He can provide this. He comes and becomes the 
focal point of sanskaras. His name, His photograph. It all condenses 
into a focal point. The universe focuses now on this Avataric event. 
A source of the yoga yoga sanskaras which then you can imbibe. 
That's the use of Meher Baba in the world." It has always been a 
commanding concept for me, in telling others why Baba is useful. 
He's not a abstract 2000 year old dream. He's a living force of yoga 
yoga sanskaras you can imbibe like a hummingbird. I believed that. 
I didn't deny it. But I still wanted a living master. Adi did his best, 
but I was not completely convinced. But not unconvinced. 

So then I heard about Murshid Ivy Duce out in San 
Francisco and she had a group out there - the Sufis. So I thought 
I would go out there. Shortly after I got married in '71, I went 
out there. My wife and I drove a Vespa motor scooter 2000 
miles. At first I spoke to Anice Hasseen and then I got to speak 
to Lud Dimpl. I loved Lud, a sweet guy. I finally got to see the 
Murshida and she invited up to her apartment. I opened the door 
and I didn't know what she looked like. I thought it might be 
her maid. I walked right past her and looked around and then 
realized, "That's her!" We sat down and talked and she told me 
to get my astrology chart done by Sylvia DeLong. We continued 
talking. Murshida had written a book, What Am I Doing Here? 
and in it she had a sentence which read, "Those who so blithely 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 89 

think they can follow the inner guide are deluding themselves." 
That's what I thought. I said to her, "You have do have a per- 
sonal master?" And she said, "Yes you do." I said,"I spoke to 
Adi about that and he said you didn't." She said, "You must have 
misunderstood him." Now the experts disagree. I'm thinking 
who do I look up to? You guys don't even agree. It was madden- 
ing to me! It was heartbreaking. 

So I went back to the Center and I talked to Kitty. I asked, 
"Do you have to have a personal master?" And she said. "No. Baba 
is the Eternal Master." "Where does it say that Kitty?" "Well, I 
don't know." I said, "I went out to see the Murshida." She said, 
"You did?" So I'm straddling this fence. What do I do? 

Then in 1980, eleven years after I became a Baba lover, I 
finally went to India. That year was the year that the dispute between 
Eruch and the Sufis exploded. When I was there Eruch read out a 
letter to the Baba community in which he said he deplored the 
current focus on spiritualism, occultism and we should remember 
Baba as our focus. It created a lot of havoc in the community, hurt 
feelings and the Sufis came in a great group to retract and soften 
their statement. But Eruch was clear. 

Eruch is 'the church', the rock on which our church will 
be founded. Those who knew him and those who have seen him in 
video will remember a manly selflessness. He was the touchstone 
of all that is to be a true man, a human being. He was a saint no 
doubt. The scent of his body was saintly. I had questioned him 
about conflicts in searching for a personal master. "Is Baba dead 
or not?" So Eruch had Davana, or whoever was his assistant then, 
go to get a letter and Eruch had me read it. It was about a young 
Baba lover whose aunt had gone to Bombay to see the chargeman. 
When she went up to him he said, "Get out of here you whore! 
Begone you vile woman!" She went back to Baba and said, "The 
chargeman of Bombay?! He's an old fart! He harangued me and 
called me a whore." Baba said, "Go back to him. He's a loving 
man. You'll like him." So she went back and as she drew near 
him, she was full of fear. But he said, "Mother come sit here." 
And he stroked her hair and was generous and kind to her. He 



1 90 Finding God In North Carolina 

said, "Now you have permission." So she went back to Baba and 
He said, "Now you see?" And the young man writing the article 
went on to say, "When you come to Baba He is our master. We 
only need Baba." And Eruch had me read that out in Mandali Hall 
to solidify my belief, to give me one more dose of the Truth. But I 
still had doubt, because the article didn't say what to do after Baba 
dies. But it was golden time with Eruch. We used to go on little 
walks with him, beautiful. I am so grateful for that. 

The next time I came to India was in 1983. The first day 
I arrived in Mandali Hall, Eruch said, "Davana, did you find that 
article?" She said, "I found it!" And he said, "Well bring it." And 
he handed to me and said, "Tim. You have a big strong voice. You 
read it." And I began to read it and it was the same article as I had 
read in 1980. Everytime I tell this I get a little choked up, and 
I got a little choked up reading it. The use of that article for me 
was to reinforce my conviction that I didn't need a master; that 
Baba has dropped His physical body, but the body that counts He 
never drops! ! Then I told Eruch my story and he said, "Oh brother, 
we have no idea how He works." It is so true! We have no idea. 
The last vestige of any doubt was just gone. Now I see I was just 
victimized by my own mind. It was a great favor to me not to have 
that doubt anymore. 

Tim has been living in Durham since 200 1 . 



Jane Barry Haynes 

Excerpted from, Letters of Love for Meher Baba, The Ancient One, 
Jane Barry Haynes, 1997 

Reborn in My Love, you are blessed. Love Me more and 
more. Meher Baba 

Myrtle Beach, S.C. 
November 22, 1974 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 191 



Dearest Beloved Baba, 



The first notes for this journal were scribbled on my knee 
on a French boat bound for Russia and Turkey after four days in 
Spain. Today I will take them out to begin the account of how You 
came to me and to my children. For we did not come to you; it was 
and is, all your Grace. May your Divine Love guide my pen; You 
will have to write it through me; there are no words to speak of the 
intimate knowing of the Ancient One. 

Oh Beloved, few have known the living Christ. Your ser- 
vant Saint Teresa of Avila spoke often with You. In her Spiritual 
Relations Following the Life, she recorded these golden words four 
hundred years ago, at Your bidding, words that still burn into my 
heart today. You said to her: 

Do not neglect to write down the counsels I give 
thee, that thou mayest not forget them. Thou seekest 
to have the counsels of men in writing. Why, then, 
thinkest thou that thou are art wasting time in writ- 
ing down those that I give Thee? The time will come 
when thou shalt require them all. 

The pens of Your true lovers - Your beloved Mehera-Mary; 
Your dear sister Mani; Saint Rabia; John of the Cross; Ramon 
Lull - sear my soul because their experience of Your Love reveals 
to us the Reality of God's Love. Can my recolection, unworthy as 
I am, reach one heart where You are still sleeping? Can the depth 
of experience of Your Divine Love that you granted us touch the 
consciousness of even one who loves You, but who does not have 
the awareness that You have come again? 

That, O Lord, is in Your hands. Please take what You will 
write through me and use it as one small candle that you lit midst 
darkness and despair. Or if You see fit, let it stay buried in this 
journal. 

As I write in Meher House, the home that You gave to 
us and that You blessed, with dear Meher Bo's company as he 
lies quietly at my feet, I see the sunlight dancing on Your fence 



1 92 Finding God In North Carolina 

across the way. Your Presence is so close and I know that in this 
remembrance will come refreshment of experience; renewal of 
love. Perhaps that is why I must write it. I love you. 
Blessed Is Thy Holy Name, the Eternal Christ. 

Forever and ever, 
Your Jane 




Meher Baba with Alphabet Board, 1932 
Photo Courtesy of M.S.I. Collection, India 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 93 

The Heavenly Life 

Fair land of radiant light 

Fields of the blest, to winter s frost unknown 

And the sun 's scorching might; 

Soil ever newly sown 

Bearing eternal joy unto its own: 

See the Good Sheperd come! 

Snow-white and purple blooms enwreathe His Head, 

As to their heavenly home, 

To waters well-watered; 

Stqffless and slingless His love 's flocks are led. 

He leads His sheep on high 

Till, glad at heart, their pasture land they view, 

Where roses cannot die 

And flowers cropp 'd and yet forever new. 

Within the mountain sfold, 

Faithful, He bathes them in the torrent 's flood, 

Loves them in joy untold 

Gives them abundant food: 

Shepherd and Pasture He And all their Good. 

And when at length the sun 

Has reached the zenith of His mighty sphere, 

The hour of rest begun, 

He to His flock draws near, 

And with sweet sound delights His sacred ear. 

He strikes the sonorous lyre, 

And lot The soul thrills to its deathless strain! 

Dissolving in its fire, 

It counts pure gold but vain, 

Plunging within it ever and again. 



1 94 Finding God In North Carolina 

O sound! O voice Divine! 

Might some faint noise of His descend to me, 

Transport my will in Thine, 

Unite it utterly 

Until it blend, O Heavenly Love, in Thee. 

Dear Love, did I but know 

The pasture where Thy noontide rest would be, 

I'd break my toils below, 

And never stray from Thee, 

But with Thy flock remain, Forever free. 

-Luis De Leon, 1557 

How tender of You, Beloved Baba, to give this beautiful 
poem to help me to begin. I sought my few pages of notes with 
growing dread that I had not kept them. Then you found them for 
me, tucked into the small volume The Mystics of Spain that Charles 
gave me. They lay right next to the great mystic-lover Luis de 
Leon, contemporary of Your friend Teresa. I had read these words 
aloud to Your Elizabeth on that first journey to Avila, when you 
sent us there in 1967. 

Now they propel me forward, because the Good Shepherd 
has always been, and will always remain, my image of You. Before 
meeting You in the Form, my childlike image of my Jesus, my 
Christ, was that of the Good Shepherd, and simple and sublime. 
Then, years later, the one thing I could not turn from when I first 
heard Your Name in 1957 was the picture Elizabeth took of You 
in India in 1938. You are holding the lamb so tenderly. Your real 
brow is radiant witness to Divine Love. And, like all Your children, 
I am that lamb. My notes begin: 

As a child I said to my mother: "I will not live very 
long." Those thirty two years seemed endless, with pain and fear 
propelling the true and false selves forward. I think of Thomas 
Merton's Seven-Story Mountain and cannot help wishing that 
Beloved Baba had made me a writer like my dad! Because that 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 195 

classic account of the rebirth of a soul was inspired: his words are 
graceful and honest; they come alive with absolute clarity. My 
own recollections have to come from awkward fishing into a well 
of deep water to draw up a summary of the events of the old life. 
But the tapestry cannot be woven without the threads of sorrow. 
Daily here at Baba's home in the west I am blessed to hear, and 
to experience, countless tales of the hopelessness and despair of 
these lovers' old lives, and the transformation to them and they 
were reborn. 

My prayer was always the same in childhood: "Now I lay 
me down to sleep," always with the same words, asking God to 
bless all His children, forever and ever. The words 'forever and 
ever' were a refrain that somehow brought inexplicable comfort. 
I know now that God hears each child's prayer; moreover that the 
prayer is granted before it is uttered. Today those words 'forever 
and ever' in the last line of Meher Baba's Christian Prayer are my 
joy, my comfort, my constant prayer, my mantra: 

Oh Beloved! Let my cry come into You: 
Suffer me not to be separated fi'om Thee 
Forever and ever. 

Growing up meant pain of never measuring up; wanting, 
needing love so desperately; fears. Only joy at Christmastime; 
comfort in reading, music, hearing my mother play the piano and 
she and my father singing together. Then my mother's long illness, 
a pain of memory that only God understands. She turned wholly 
to Him during those last years of withdrawal from the world. My 
father's generosity of heart and brilliance of mind evidenced in his 
writing seemed helpless in the face of all. So he remained in his 
ivory tower. 

Perhaps all this was one reason for my early marriage at 
eighteen; I had left the university and gone to work in Army Emer- 
gency Relief, at Camp Butner in Durham, when war broke out. I 
met and married an army captain in the Medical Corps and left 
home. But that brought only more loneliness and pain. Except that 



1 96 Finding God In North Carolina 

a precious baby, Diane, was taken from me by her father when he 
returned from service in Europe. She was two years old. I can write 
of it some thirty years later with detachment because my Beloved 
returned her to me when Diane was eighteen. But then it was an 
agony that only He understands. Her father said: "As far as she is 
concerned, you are dead." 

My father left me in New York alone: it was all too much 
for him. He had 'warned' me: and my mother's illness was more 
severe. At her passing, a tragic accidental death, I returned to our 
home in North Carolina. Only months later I married my child- 
hood best friend, Sonny Haynes. What a deep desire I had to have 
children! My mother had loved children so very much; this was 
her greatest gift to me. 

If there were inner longings to know God, they were hid- 
den deep within. In church as a child and young adult, I wept when 
I heard the singing but I did not know why. But at night when I said 
my prayers, I would truly long to know if Christ was really Real. 

Ten years passed. God gave us three beautiful children. 
John Barry was born the first year of marriage. With each birth 
the miracle of God's Love was clear. Purity, love, sweetness, joy, 
all the loveliest words in any language be longed to this blessed 
experience of motherhood. 

But all these years were veiled under a heavy curtain 
of superficial life: a life of pleasure, pursuit of all facets of 
illusion. This seemed a darkness of my own making: the needs 
for achievements, worldly pleasures — a reaching out in all 
directions — excesses of every kind. Needs that I never recog- 
nized as one simple need: the need to love God: to know Him 
and to serve Him. 

The creative urges propelled me into theatre work. The 
first play I worked on was an Easter play at our Presbyterian 
church: Simon of Cyrene. I discovered through this experience 
that directing would be the facet that I liked best. There followed a 
civic theatre which I directed in Durham. 

For many years I had longed to go to Myrtle Beach, South 
Carolina, without knowing why. I would beseech Sonny and his 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 197 

family to please take me there; they preferred the mountains. 
Finally, they said, "If it means so much to you, why don't you go 
by yourself?" 

So in the summer of 1947 I did so. I was carrying my first 
child John. I can still feel the cool breeze - the dazzling blues and 
greens of the great ocean as I stood in the surf hours each day, 
across from the Old Colonial Inn, pretending to fish - just experi- 
encing the beauty of the sea, the silence. (In those days there were 
no buildings to the right or left for miles on end). 

I do not believe that even a part of me suspected at that time 
what the real drawing to this place meant. Nor could I have known 
that this was the year that Elizabeth began work at the Center. The 
Log Cabin bears the carved inscription July 26, 1947. (This cabin 
was where she and Norina stayed when Beloved Baba came first 
in 1952. They would stand outside and call out to those waiting 
patiently on the other side of the lagoon bridge: "Baba is coming!" 
and He would appear with His graceful stride on the lake path from 
His house.) 

Continued in India at Meherabad in the room where Baba rested. 
My notes say: 

All the while it was the Divine Magnet, Meher Baba, who 
was drawing us to Myrtle Beach. We began to go there on vaca- 
tion, John, Charles, Wendy and I. Charles was born on July 22, 
1949, during Baba's great seclusion prior to beginning His New 
Life. Wendy, Baba's gazelle, came in 1951. In 1954 we built a 
home in Windy Hill just north of the Center and began to spend 
our summers there. It was then that friends in Durham called me 
out of the blue to ask if I would go as an advance person to help set 
up the Myrtle Beach Playhouse, a professional star-system theatre, 
in the ballroom of the beautiful Ocean Forest Hotel and to act as 
associate director there. A dream come true. 

I accepted and took the children with me. We opened the 
Arena Theatre with Zasu Pitts in Miss Private Eye. She and I 
became friends: she said, "One day you will produce at this theatre 



1 98 Finding God In North Carolina 

and I will come and open for you!" I laughed, but so it was to 
be true. (Years later Elizabeth's nephew Harry told that in 1950 
and "51 his Auntie Boo (Elizabeth) asked him to play for Norina 
(Matchabelli) on the grand piano that was in that same ballroom 
inn the Ocean Forest.) 

After two seasons there, I was asked in 1956 to found 
and co-produce a new theatre in Pennsylvania, near Lancaster. It 
was not our time to meet the Beloved; only He knows the timing 
because He visited the Center in 1956. The Theatre was success- 
ful: people were responsive and kind. 

My notes written in Spain continue this way: 

I was going to New York to sign the Stars for the 1957 
season — it was May. Just the night before the departure a strange 
experience began. In our country home in Hope Valley, suddenly 
I called out from the depths of my being: "Please, God, help me." 
Where did that cry come from? How did it come? And why then? 
It was a desperate cry, a genuine plea for help, only half conscious; 
the culmination of years of darkness from a self covered by layers 
of heavy impressions. I only know that I cried out: If there is a 
God, please hear me. 

The next morning I bought a New Yorker magazine as I 
boarded the plane. It was Eastertime. On the plane I began the 
story by J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey. As I read, something 
happened inside me. A light, joyous feeling, akin to bliss, but 
something seemed to be breaking apart inside. I kept putting the 
story down and then picking it up again; I felt that I would explode. 
I read the words Zooey said as he looked out on the matinee audi- 
ence at the "ladies in the hats." He said to Seymour: "Don't you 
see? - they are all Jesus Christ - each one!" And Franny kept repeat- 
ing the Jesus Prayer: "Oh Lord, have mercy on me." 

The phrase Tt is all God's Plan' kept running through my 
head and my heart. The experience continued and took a strange 
turn. I had no need to eat or sleep; after a few moments of rest I 
would be totally refreshed; I felt blissful, yet still able to plan and to 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 1 99 

work. All exterior things fell into place as if by magic. All around 
me thought me mad. I would simply say: "It is all God's Plan." 

At the very height of this strange experience I had a call in 
New York from Sonny to say that the producers of Myrtle Beach 
Playhouse wanted me to come and take over the theatre - they 
were dropping it. I was shocked. They had only kept me on those 
two years in a minor capacity when the New York director arrived; 
now they wanted to give me the entire theatre! It was incredible. I 
responded that all my money was tied up in my Pennsylvania the- 
atre; Sonny said, "They say all you have to do is come, everything 
will be put in your hands, they want the theatre to continue." 

Looking back I see now how it was all God's Plan. It was 
Baba's natural miracle. I had to be there with my children so that 
we could meet Him. I said yes I will come; I told my friends in 
Pennsylvania; they forgave me, and because the theatre had been 
received well, there were other producers eager to take it. 

When I returned back at our home in North Carolina, the 
experience took a new turn. The bliss continued with intensity, but 
suddenly there was pain, and I could not walk. I felt as though I 
were on fire; I could only speak of God. Only my children under- 
stood. They were five, seven and nine years old. John was quiet and 
kind. Charles sat for hours with me; he told me Bible stories, and 
did not question my state. Wendy was so dear and so comforting. 

The doctor was called. I heard him say to my father and to 
Sonny, "It's all right. She has been overworking. She only needs 
rest." Then they called our minister, because I had said I knew I 
was going to die. Dr. Regen, our dear friend, came - I told him 
of my experience. He listened attentively. Then he said: "I am a 
workhorse for the Lord, not an artist, Jane. I cannot help you." 

I asked Dr. Waldo Beach to come. I said, he is the only truly 
spiritual man that I know. He was then Associate Professor at the 
Divinity School at Duke; he and his lovely wife were in our church 
and we were in an adult group together. He came immediately, 
heard my story, then he looked at me in silence for a time. His face 
lit up with a radiant smile and he said with feeling: "Thank you 
Jane. Thank you." And he embraced me and left. 



200 Finding God In North Carolina 

I asked to be carried to my bedroom from the other wing of 
the house. I knew that my time had come. I was thirty two, and I had 
told my mother that would not live past thirty three years. I lay down, 
quiet and alone. I then felt myself slipping away - down - down - it 
was very swift; I knew that I was not ready- "I am not ready." In a 
split second I was fully in the body; only all the pain was gone - my 
legs moved easily; the bliss remained for weeks after. 

I almost leapt from my bed and said to the children, "Now 
we must go to Myrtle Beach." We left the next day. 

I had called Miss Pitts in California when I knew they were 
serious about my taking the theatre. She was so happy and said, 
"I told you so!" She wanted to star in Solid Gold Cadillac. (It was 
interesting to Elizabeth and to me later that Charles Purdom's son 
Edmund starred in the film version.) After Pitts's play opened, she 
was free in the daytime and asked me to show her the beautiful 
homes in the area. I protested, as we were rehearsing the next 
play, but she persisted. I recalled a home in Briarcliffe Acres that 
I had seen during a promotion for the theatre - there was an avi- 
ary. So I called the lady and asked if I could bring Miss Pitts. She 
said yes. 

Just as we were leaving (Pitts was out of mood and would 
not sit down), she suddenly turned and asked Eileen Coates, whose 
home it was, "What about this Master, Meher Baba? I would like 
to see Him." She had heard of Him through Mary Pickford and 
Douglas Fairbanks in the thirties. This remark came out of the blue. 
I never asked her about it, but much later Elizabeth commented 
that Miss Pitts must have seen the notice the local paper that day of 
Norina's passing, and Baba used this to trigger her memory. 

I heard Eileen arranging a visit to the Center. Two images, 
like lightning, flashed into my mind: I had seen a picture in my 
father's newspaper in North Carolina and the words 'Myrtle Beach' 
and 'spiritual'. I did not see Baba's face. (That was the 1952 visit, 
carried by Associated Press.) The second image came swiftly: One 
day the children's grandmother said, driving past the Center, "You 
know, some great person came there from India!" I paid no attention, 
but that night, or rather at four in the morning, I had a vivid dream: 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 201 

there was a high rounded beautiful curved fence. Clear sounds like 
celestial music came from within.... I felt, rather than saw, people 
inside. They were joyous. I was alone... outside... alienated. I woke 
and forgot the dream. 

So now, in Eileen's home, when Pitts said Meher Baba's 
name, I blurted out: "I would like to go too." But Eileen made 
no reply. So I was angry and hurt, and went out to the car and 
promptly forgot all about it. On the appointed day, Eileen came to 
the theatre to fetch Pitts; she was upset to learn that the star had 
gone to the Baruch Plantation and had not returned. I rudely told 
her that it was her problem! And I went inside my office. But she 
brought me to His home the first time. 

At the Center, Elizabeth came with outstretched hands from 
the Original Kitchen saying, "Welcome." There was no mention 
of the star. As we walked across the bridge, I poured out the story 
of the strange spiritual experience, she just listened quietly. After a 
bit, she said, "You know, we met last night at your theatre. Norina 
Matchabelli, our dear friend, has just passed away. Baba said we 
must be happy in death, not sad. Kitty, Margaret and I went to your 
theatre and you greeted us at the door - the lights had gone down, 
and you said, "Come in. I have been waiting for you." Later she 
commented that Baba had shown her something familiar in my 
smile. I had no memory of the meeting. 

I felt the peace and beauty of the Center, but I was veiled. 
My image of Christ, ever-present in spiter of the life I led, was 
there. The words 'Eastern' and 'Master', and his new name, Meher 
Baba, were strange to me. I was covered in ignorance. A few days 
later, Elizabeth took me for a drive through the Center woods. Sud- 
denly we came upon the fence that is around Baba's house. It was 
the fence in my dream - exactly! She believed me when I told her 
of my dream years before. She thought it most natural. 

During the coming weeks and months, the Trio and I went 
to the Center often and we saw Elizabeth and Kitty daily. In August 
of '57, a cable arrived: LOVE ELIKITJANE, signed Meher Baba. 
Soon a loving message from Mehera and Mani came. But Baba 
kept me veiled. 



202 Finding God In North Carolina 

Two things held me tightly. First, the picture of Baba with 
the lamb that Elizabeth took on the bus tour. I would think, "That is 
the way I always thought He would look." The second was the lives 
of love, purity, and selfless service of his two disciples, Elizabeth 
and Kitty. Never had I experienced these words, these ideals, put 
fully into daily life. This I could not turn away from. 

Time passed; I had determined never to return to North 
Carolina and my life there. The deep inner experience I had had 
brought about an inexplicable change; I seemed to have courage 
for the first time in my life. We had taken a lovely house by the sea 
on 67th Avenue for the winter. Meanwhile my dad came down and 
asked if it was wise for me to leave Sonny and face all that that 
would bring. I heard myself saying as I got out of his car, "You do 
not ever have to worry about us. God will take care of us." And so 
He has. 

In the spring, Elizabeth and I moved a little house that they 
were going to tear down, from the Chapin County parking lot, and 
restored it, placing it on 74th Avenue in town. She called it Happy 
House and for us it was a happy house indeed because of the love 
that went into it. We visited Elizabeth and Kitty every day at the 
home her father built, Youpon Dunes. And Elizabeth said to John, 
Charles and Wendy, "You may call me Auntie Boo; you are now 
my family." Very soon we received joyous news, that, despite His 
suffering, Beloved Baba was coming to His home in the West! 

Account continued in the Guest House at Me her Center, May 19, 
1975: 

Today is the day I saw You, Beloved Baba, for the first 
time. It was seventeen years ago, yet it is as fresh and clear as 
though it were today. By Your Grace, I am in your beautiful Guest 
House for a few precious days of solitude and seclusion. Please 
help me to make the most of this time; help me to still my mind, 
which is my enemy, and rest in Your arms, with my heart opened 
to Your Grace. May the recollection of those incomparable days 
bring a renewal of spirit and love. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 203 

Monday, May 19, 1958 

We had been told that no one was to come to the Center on 
that first day. Early in the morning the telephone rang in Happy 
House. Elizabeth said: "Meher Baba wants to see you." I protested, 
in my ignorance: "But I have to post bond for my theatre." (we 
were to open in four week's time). Elizabeth said quietly: "When 
Baba calls, Jane, that is the time to come." Something in her voice 
penetrated to my inner being. I went directly to the Center (Baba 
had said that the children were to go to school as usual.) I entered 
the Lagoon Cabin with Elizabeth. There I saw Meher Baba seated, 
wearing a white garment and a lovely pink jacket. There were 
impressions of stillness, beauty and peace. Baba gestured for me 
to sit beside Him. 

Suddenly, to my surprise, I heard myself saying: "You 
look so well. They told me that You have not been well." Baba 
was silent; He looked past me and then gestured with His beauti- 
ful hands (and Adi, His disciple spoke): "No one, no one, no one 
understands my suffering." There was a sadness in His eyes. 

In a little while, Baba seeing me look with wonder at Him, 
said: "Do not look at this form Jane. This is not Baba." 

And then: "How long does Jane stay, Elizabeth?" 
She replied, "Only half of your stay, Baba, due to the theatre 
opening." (Of course, as it turned out, I was to stay until the last 
moment.) 

Beloved Baba then said to me, "Do not think of the theatre 
while you are here. Think only of Me. I will see to it." He then said 
that He had had many letters from Elizabeth about Jane - and His 
beautiful eyes twinkled as He teased her. Elizabeth mentioned an 
ailment of mine and asked if there should be an operation. "Not 
now," Baba said. "Not at this time." 

Then He asked, "Have you eaten, Jane?" With a sweet 
smile He turned to me. I felt myself blushing because all the way 
up to the Center I had been thinking: I expect the food will be very 
good - Elizabeth said it is being catered by Mrs. Houston at the 
Driftwood! Though I was veiled, I knew even then that He knew 
my every thought. 



204 Finding God In North Carolina 

I was seated in the Original Kitchen only a few moments 
when Kitty came running in to say: Baba asks you to come and 
be beside Him when the New York group arrives. Upon reaching 
the Lagoon Cabin, Baba gestured for me to sit close beside Him. 
I did so, and watched as the people approached Him. Some were 
smiling, some wept, some knelt before Him - each one received a 
tender embrace. 

A black, youngish woman came forward. I recognized her 
as someone I had seen at FredElla's (Fred and Ella Winterfeldt's) 
in New York. Her name, I learned later, was Beryl Williams. When 
Baba embraced her, He put her face on the other side of His own in 
a tender gesture. Then He placed her face on the other side of His 
own, and He turned His head and glanced at me. A gentle glance, 
but also a deep and penetrating glance. It seemed to me the first 
time that He had held my eyes in that direct way. That was all. Yet 
I know now that at that moment Beloved Baba lifted my ignorance 
and prejudice. Black people had been close to me in growing up 
in the South, but in the role of servants. In time to come I was to 
have dear Beryl as my dear and loving friend — to feel a oneness 
with her that can only be a spiritual bond placed by Baba. He was 
to propel me years later into service work with His black children 
and families. But on this first day, I simply felt the sweetness of 
His Glance. 

At the close of the time with the New York lovers, we were 
alone with Him. Baba asked His Elizabeth: "What is Jane think- 
ing?" She replied, "I do not know, Baba, but she has not taken her 
eyes from You." Beloved Baba asked for the children — He had 
said that they were to remain in their school classes; I told Him 
that, and He nodded, and said that He would call them. He looked 
so beautiful. It is not possible to say in words. One knew, even 
when veiled from His Glory, that never had there been a Being like 
this Now. His Beauty was inexpressible, and the peace in one's 
heart indescribable. Yet I was still to discover just who Meher 
Baba really is. 

On the second day 225 lovers of Baba from several coun- 
tries gathered in the Barn. Beloved Baba said that Sahavas is 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 205 

companionship with God. He spoke of the accident in 1956: 
"Nobody is guilty, all was ordained ages ago. I am the Ancient 
One and have taken the suffering of the world upon Myself. No 
one can cure Me." Baba then told of the great Indian Sahavas just 
held - for 800. He asked us to remember that He was suffering. 
He then asked for Dr. Kenmore to recite the Master 's Prayer. 
Then Baba asked all if they knew His Prayer of Repentance. No 
one knew it by heart. He looked sad - He gestured: "Then we 
will read it." But no one had a copy. Baba looked unhappy. He 
asked Kitty to go fetch a copy - that we could wait. When she 
came back Baba said through Eruch: "Jane will read my Prayer." 
I was sitting in the back, at the end of the row. I came forward, 
hardly knowing what I was doing. I had never seen the Prayer of 
Repentance before. My heart was beating fast - I read it aloud, 
trying to look up as much as I could. Inside I was remembering 
how I had said to Elizabeth on Whileaway porch, next to Youpon 
Dunes, a year before: "How can someone help you to love God 
when He does not even believe in prayer?" Of course I had not 
even read Meher Baba"s works. As I stood in the Barn that May 
morning and read that beautiful prayer that Baba had given, I 
knew that He knew my words— that He knew it all. In such a 
simple way He acknowledged my inner doubts and somehow, in 
the doing, let know how much real prayer means. Then He said: 
"Remember, a life of prayer is ever-essential. The prayer God 
hears is spontaneous worship of His Being. 

Baba stilled my mind, by His Grace, during those precious 
days at His Center. I only know that inside, at that moment, a 
kind of inner peace and joy came to me. Baba then spoke about 
obedience: 

What I want is love and obedience — 1 00 percent. I want one 
who does his best. In the time of Jesus I said the same thing: Leave 
all and follow Me! And in the time of Krishna and Zoroaster. I do 
not mean you to leave all your responsibilities, but that My Will 
becomes yours. My Will should be your pleasure. God is Infinite 
Honesty. To love God you must be honest. 



206 Finding God In North Carolina 

He then asked us to raise our hands if we could obey Him 
100 per cent. Though I still had not the deepest conviction of 
Meher Baba's Divinity, I raised my hand. It seemed so natural 
to do so. 

Baba said: 

/ am the Ancient One: and I tell you, the time has come. You will 
see Me only in memory, when I drop the body, I will remain in all 
who love Me. I can never die. Love Me, obey Me, and you will find 
Me. It is impossible to obey me 100 per cent unless you have 100 
per cent love for Me and accept Me 1 00 per cent as God Incar- 
nate. So it is for you who have raised your hands to do My Will. 
The purpose of My coming to the West has been accomplished. 
Tomorrow we will start discourses. 

Before leaving the Barn, there was the playing of a 
beautiful spiritual, sung by Marion Anderson. It was Were You 
There When They Crucified My Lord? As the record played I felt 
a deep pain inside. The emotion came so unexpectedly that I 
could not check it. I cannot put it into words - 1 just know that I 
wept, silently, and tried not to show my tears. Then it was over. 
The young dancers from the Metropolitan, Margaret Craske's 
students, carried Baba on the lift chair. I followed and started 
down the path from the Barn, alone. I heard Elizabeth call my 
name. She was seated in the blue Ford, at the wheel, with Baba 
beside her. I was startled; she beckoned me to come 'round to 
her side of the car. I stood there - and looking straight ahead, she 
said to me, "Baba says that I am to tell you that He knows that 
you love Him. And that He loves you very much." Then they 
drove away. 

I cannot say what my mind thought - I believe Beloved 
Baba had it stilled. But somehow He seemed to have given me 
a gift from His Heart - a gift that He knew my pain at that most 
beautiful music of Christ's suffering; a gift that He felt my love 
for Christ, hidden from all but Him. And the gift, still not fully 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 207 

experienced, that He and my image of Christ were one and the 
same. 

Jane was born in Durham and lived there until the mid 
1950's when she moved to Myrtle Beach. She died in 1997. 

Stacy Miller 

When I was about four, I fell in love with ballet and began beg- 
ging for lessons. My family moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, 
when I was six, and my parents made inquiries of local studios. My 
father was not drawn to the large commercial studio that offered 
lessons in tap, baton twirling, gymnastics and ballet. He was, how- 
ever, impressed by the woman who taught only classical ballet in 
her small walk-up apartment over a grocery store. 

She told him, "Wait until your daughter is seven. Ballet les- 
sons before then are unnecessary and the child is not ready." So it 
was not until after an additional long year of waiting that I eagerly 
walked up the steps to Barbara Mahon's studio. She was a roly- 
poly redhead who smoked cigarettes- not my image of a ballerina 
for sure. But I loved her and the ballet classes. I studied with Miss 
Mahon until we left Greensboro when I was 13. 

In Greensboro, my mother took my sister and me to the big 
stone Episcopal church downtown every Sunday. I sang in the 
choir, and I loved being part of the pomp and circumstance. The 
Sunday I was scheduled to take my first communion, we awoke to 
snowfall and my mother explained that we would not be going to 
church; I cried in bitter disappointment. I will always be grateful 
to my mother for introducing me to the church and for giving me 
a strong foundation for my religious life. In balance, my father 
assured us that he did believe in God, and he supported our going 
to church, but he did not accompany us regularly. This was an 
important lesson to me: one can be religious in a personal way, and 
not be part of organized religion. 

When I was about twelve, Miss Mahon encouraged me to 
audition for the North Carolina State Ballet Company. Her own 



208 Finding God In North Carolina 

teacher from the Metropolitan Opera Ballet would be judging. 
The stern gray-haired lady watching us made the audition all 
the more frightening. She did not accept me for the Company. 
I was shattered. I never forgot the name of that gray-haired 
lady, Margaret Craske. I hated her for years, unaware of the 
significance of my contact with her, and the importance of not 
forgetting her. 

When I was seventeen, I left home to study dance in a 
liberal artistic environment. It was 1966 and the times they were 
a-changin': I was essentially a small-town girl, innocent, trust- 
ing, naive and overprotected. On February 1, 1969, 1 entered the 
Florence Crittenden Home for Unwed Mothers, and I met the 
young woman who became my best friend there and who played 
a key role in my spiritual life: she was the person who first men- 
tioned Meher Baba's name to me. She told me about finding an 
inexpensive place to stay at the beach called the Meher Spiritual 
Center. 

A year later, I noticed a picture on the door across from 
a friend's apartment. It was the photograph of a man, and the 
words, Don 't Worry, Be Happy. I was strongly drawn to the man's 
beautiful face. 

"Who is that?" I asked. 

"That's Meher Baba." 

"Who's Meher Baba?" 

"He's an Indian spiritual teacher." 

"Where is he?" 

"He died about a year ago." 

Disappointed, I said, "That's too bad. I really would have 
liked to meet Him." I did not remember that I had already heard 
Meher Baba's name. 

In the spring of 1970 I skipped my college graduation cer- 
emony, went to New York City, and enrolled at the Martha Graham 
School. I had friendly conversations with only one other young 
dancer there. I remember walking down the street with her the 
last time we talked. We were both feeling discouraged about the 
school and our future as dancers. I was sorely tempted to run back 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 209 

to North Carolina and get married, which I did a few weeks later. 
Through the years I wondered what happened to that sweet blonde 
dancer who befriended me. Her name was Kacy Cook. 

Six years later, with a girlfriend and her baby, I visited my 
ex-husband in North Myrtle Beach. Tom wanted to take us to the 
nearby Meher Spiritual Center, and had lent me a biography of 
Meher Baba, Much Silence. I had no recollection of having already 
heard about the Center, nor did I associate this 'Meher Baba' with 
the picture I'd seen six years earlier. 

I was most impressed with Jane Haynes, whom we met at 
Baba's House on Sunday morning. Her adoration of my friend's 
baby, and her sweetness to us, had a quality I'd never experi- 
enced before. 

A year later, May, 1977, my life fell apart. I knew I needed 
the beach, a retreat, and a friend Tom offered all three. I arrived 
late at night, physically and emotionally exhausted. The next after- 
noon he drove me to the Center and left me outside the Original 
Kitchen. "I'll pick you up at five," he said. 

I wandered around for a couple of hours. I've always loved 
being in nature, and there was certainly plenty of that to explore. 
When he returned, I said, "That was nice, but what was I really 
supposed to do there?" The next day Tom deposited me at the 
Barn. "I'll pick up you up at five," he said again. I took off my 
shoes, entered the Barn, sat in the big easy chair, and looked up 
at Baba's picture. "I don't know if you are the Avatar of the Age 
or not," I said to Baba, "but it really doesn't matter." And I felt a 
strong 'whoosh' of love - something palpable embracing me. That 
was the beginning of a therapeutic process that took place in the 
Barn every afternoon for a month. Although it was open to all, no 
one else ever entered the Barn during my therapy. The sessions 
included internal dialogue with Baba and imagery of His sweeping 
out my insides, my heart and my mind — sweeping and carrying 
out buckets and buckets of debris. Where my heart had been so 
damaged by the recent crisis, Baba and I planted a rock garden. 

I cried in that chair, and I slept, or at least lost ordinary 
consciousness almost every day. Sometimes I would 'come to' just 



210 Finding God In North Carolina 

before five o'clock, when the Barn would be locked and I was 
supposed to leave. One afternoon, Elizabeth Patterson, one of the 
founding matriarchs of the Center, met me going out the door; she 
was the one locking up that afternoon! It felt like a blessing, a 
divine appointment. The weeks I spent in North Myrtle Beach that 
summer coincided with Adi K. Irani's visit. One afternoon I arrived 
at the Gateway as usual and Jeff said, "Are you going to hear Adi?" 
"Adi what?" I had no clue who he was. Jeff got me into a car that 
flew down the curvy dirt road and through the woods to the library; 
the talk had already begun. Adi impressed me. I attended every 
talk he gave and hung on his every word. In essence, I came to 
Baba at Adi's feet. I remember one evening Liam, from Canada, 
showed me a box full of beautiful photographs by Hermes. If my 
heart could open any more, it did then. But Baba knew His work 
with me was not yet finished; I was not yet wholly His. 

Only a few weeks remained before I had to return home to 
teach dance in a summer school. As that time approached, I began 
to get anxious. Was I ready to re-enter the world and function as a 
whole, sane person? Then I dreamed it was the first day of summer 
school, and Baba was there to give His blessing. He stood out- 
doors, His white sadra flowing in the breeze, and He sang a song 
to welcome all of us, students, parents and faculty. I was shocked 
and concerned at first to hear Him break His silence, but then I 
realized He knew what He was doing, and it was all right that He 
was singing. We smiled at one another. When I woke up, I knew 
everything would be fine. 

The next day at the Gateway, I told Jeff about the dream. He 
suggested I share it with Jane Haynes, who was in the next room. 
I told Jane the dream, and she asked me about my dance training. I 
started at the very beginning: Greensboro. "Who was your teacher 
there?" she asked. "Barbara Mahon," I replied. She exclaimed, 
"Barbara Mahon! She was a Baba lover!" I was astounded. Was 
I still dreaming? But of course, Miss Mahon was one of Margaret 
Craske's students! Then the memories came back, one by one, and 
I made the connections: the audition; first hearing Baba's name 
from the woman I met the day after He dropped His body; seeing 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 211 

the Don 't Worry, Be Happy card and longing to meet the man in the 
picture above the words. 

Other memories returned as I talked with Tom. He reminded 
me that we used to camp at the Holiday Inn Campground next to 
the Center; we loved to walk on the adjacent broad expanse of 
undeveloped beach. One day, we noticed the black mailbox that 
said, Meher Spiritual Center. "We'll have to check that out," we 
agreed. We never did as a couple, but we each found our way back 
there nonetheless. 

There was no doubt in my mind that what my heart felt was 
true: Baba IS the Avatar of the Age! I left Myrtle Beach to begin 
my teaching stint and my new life. I swore off romantic relation- 
ships and immediately got involved with the man who has now 
been my husband for nearly twenty years, Ken Miller. 

I wrote to Barbara Mahon; we had a reunion where she 
confirmed that, yes, she had been a Baba lover. "You may leave 
Baba," she said about her own distancing from Him, "but He'll 
never leave you." She told me about her parents taking her to see 
the play, The Miracle, when she was a child. She had been very 
moved by the image of the Virgin Mary, statue-still and dressed 
in white. The actress who played the part was of course, Norina 
Matchabelli, who became one of Baba's close followers. Miss 
Mahon studied with Miss Craske and Anthony Tudor at the 
Metropolitan Opera Ballet. She began teaching in the unlikely 
southern town of Greensboro not long before I came to her for 
classes and lasted only a few years after my family moved away. 
Miss Mahon met Baba when He visited the Center in the 50's, 
and I do remember the ballet students" parents tsk-tsking about our 
eccentric teacher's taking off for the beach in her old run down car. 
I also experienced a reunion with Margaret Craske. She laughed 
with me about my audition nightmare and the vendetta I held 
for years against her. 

And in the mid 1980's, I overheard someone talking about 
a dancer named Kacy who lived and worked in Baba's home in 
India. I interrupted and asked what her last name was. She was 
my blonde friend at the Martha Graham School, of course! When I 



212 Finding God In North Carolina 

finally visited Meherazad in 1988, Kacy and I had the opportunity 
to sit down and share the rest of our stories with one another, mar- 
veling at the artistry and craftiness of the Avatar. 

I like to think Baba caught me in His net with a pink thread 
of love that He wove in and out of my life until I was unarguably 
roped in, face to face with Him, unable to turn away and not wanting 
to at all. Not at all. 

Stacy lives in Durham. 



Greensboro 



Laura Kelly 

I saw a picture of Baba in about 1969 in New York when I was 
maybe thirteen. I don't know what I saw in it, but to this day I wish 
I knew what it was. I was really quite taken with HIS face and HIS 
eyes. We were being flooded with pictures of gurus and all that 
stuff as a sign of the times. I was being open to that. 

I don't know what I saw in Him but it was something about 
not being able to find God in a pill and not taking drugs. So I said, 
"I'm not interested in that guru! I want to expand my mind! I want 
to drop acid!" And I did, for twenty years. But during all that time 
I was still searching different paths, churches and religions. I was a 
Muslim for awhile and ran around with the Krishnas for awhile. 

In 1989, through my addiction to drugs, I met my future 
husband Rick when I was getting clean in Narcotics Anonymous. 
We met at a Sunday morning meeting in Staten Island and we ended 
up getting together and moving to Greensboro, North Carolina. 

One day we were at a woman's house whose family was 
connected to Baba through the Chapel Hill group. I walked into 
her kitchen and saw a magnet on the refrigerator which was the 
same Baba photo I saw in 1969! So I was going, "Whoa! You 



214 Finding God In North Carolina 

know that guy! I remember that guy!" And I said to Rick, "Come 
in. This guy is a guru. I cannot remember His name, Baba some- 
thing." So our friend said, "You have to go to the Meher Spiritual 
Center with us." 

Another friend of ours, Laura, was into Baba so we all went 
down to the Center on a Sunday. Laura's sister and a couple of oth- 
ers came with us. As soon as we entered the property, I felt imme- 
diately different because I have always been sensitive to energetic 
vibrations. Then I went into Baba's room in His house and I was 
like, "Whoa! This is serious! The energy is amazing!" It was amaz- 
ingly powerful and very sweet and beautiful. I was like, "This BE 
the man!" 

And I kept coming. It was really funny because at first I 
said, "I really think He is God" and I remember Rick saying, "No." 
And then there was this really big flip and Rick was the one who 
was into Baba and I wasn't as much. I don't know what did it. I 
don't think it was one thing in particular. 

The more I read, the more I felt, Who would know this but 
God? Who would? And then just synchronicity - things fell into 
place and I would think, What were the chances anyway that I would 
meet Rick? And just before I got into drugs, what were the chances I 
would see Baba's picture and then, just as I was getting clean, seeing 
it again? Through NA I was taught that there is no such thing as a 
coincidence. So right there, I knew that something was right. 

And every time I come to the Center, the moment I come 
through the gates, the energy just changes and I feel all this love. 

Laura lives in Greensboro. 



Rick Kelly 

Most of my life was lived not knowing Baba. I was born in 1959 
in New York. I was an adopted child. My sister was adopted; my 
father was a cop, and my mother was very loving. My father never 
said a word. When he was leaving the house, he would say, "See 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 215 

you later, doll." I knew he loved me, but as intimate as he and I 
ever were was when we shook hands one time. I love my father 
and he was my idol, but I was never really able to please him. 

If I brought home a report card with three A's and two B's, 
he would look at the two B's and say, "How come they're not A's?" 
Everyone else in the neighborhood would get a quarter or a dime 
for a good report card. I knew he was trying to do what he felt 
was best for me, but it really put a lot of heavy pressure on me to 
succeed. So at that time, maybe second grade, I decided I wasn't 
going to try to succeed. I became the class clown, the class joker 
and I just didn't feel like I was a part of anything or like I fit in. 

I was full of a lot of fear and I became a bully type because 
I didn't fit in and because I was so fragile. If someone said some- 
thing about me or if I tripped and fell, and everyone laughed at 
me, it was like the end of the world. I was running around with all 
this fear - fear of rejection, fear of not fitting in and consequently 
I started using drugs at an early age. That didn't go over real well 
with my family. Then I fell in love with a girl and it didn't work 
out. I thought she would save my life but it was just an obses- 
sion. By that time I was using drugs every day. I was using when 
I would wake up in the morning and I was using to go to sleep at 
night. I was just existing. 

I left and moved to Florida. That was worse as I just brought 
my drug addiction with me. Things got a lot worse. But through 
all these things I went through, even life threatening situations, I 
never realized that it was GOD taking care of me. I can look back 
now and see that Baba was carrying me, loving me and taking care 
of me. But I was in complete denial until I got clean. 

I first went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in 1988 and 
I haven't used since 1990 - so it's been 16 years. I worked the 
steps and one of the steps is, "There is a God that is loving and car- 
ing and greater than you." I was willing to go with that for awhile, 
but I was still on a spiritual journey. Long before any of this hap- 
pened, I believed I was born into this world spiritually bankrupt 
and in big-time denial of whatever was going on. And everything 
progressed from that point. 



216 Finding God In North Carolina 

After marrying my wife in 1989, (see previous story) we 
moved to Greensboro, North Carolina. Laura Smith was a friend of 
mine. We visited her and she said she was going to the Baba Center 
in Myrtle Beach and, "Would you like to go?" I said, "Sure. And I 
went there. As soon as I walked through the gate, it was peaceful, 
quiet - and I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be. 

Narcotics Anonymous was the first place I found a home 
and the Meher Spiritual Center was the second. Nobody tried to 
change my mind about anything. Nobody asked me for any money, 
any of that. I just walked around and asked a lot of questions. It was 
just a lovely day. But something hit me when I went into Baba's 
bedroom. I was always in denial of energy and things like that, but 
when I went in there I could feel the Presence of Baba! I always 
wanted to lay my head on his chest and have him cradle my head 
in His arms and have Him say, "It's ok. I love you. It's going to be 
alright, just love me — that is all I ask." 

Consequently I love to hear about people's stories of com- 
ing to Baba as it's all about love in their hearts. I don't go for the 
intellectual side. But I did get one book called The Beloved and 
I read it cover to cover, like in a day, and everything rang true. I 
had an idea of who I wanted God to be and Baba was it. I have 
never read anything or heard anything that doesn't ring true with 
my heart. Baba is what I have been searching for my whole life 
and I finally found it. Just love Baba. Now I let everything fall 
into place. I get up in the morning and I turn my day over to Baba. 
When I try to control my day, it isn't worth it. 

Rick lives in Greensboro. 



Hillsborough 



Kathy Alberter 

When I first experienced the presence of Meher Baba in my 
life ten years ago, it was a great homecoming and the culmina- 
tion of 25 years of searching for the path to peace and faith. 
I wanted more understanding and connection in my experience 
of life. 

In 1996, I came to the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle 
Beach, South Carolina on a day trip while at a family reunion 
in Ocean Isle, North Carolina, forty five minutes north. I was a 
spiritual seeker and this was to be a bit of a spiritual tourist stop. 
An admired friend I'd known in Durham named Ambika had vis- 
ited the Center ten years earlier and had moved to Myrtle Beach. 
I had been curious as to what she had found there, as she had 
been searching in spiritual centers around the world with great 
mindfulness. We lost touch with each other, and I hadn't talked 
to her in all that time, but when I entered the Gateway building 
to join the tour for visitors, feeling a little ill at ease, Ambika was 
the tour guide! We immediately picked up having fun where we 
had left off years ago. 



218 Finding God In North Carolina 

As we drove through the pristine forest on the sandy one- 
lane road, I was at first taken by the beauty and quiet there. We 
entered the original compound of buildings including the Lakefront 
Kitchen, the Lagoon Cabin, the expansive view of Long Lake, and 
I breathed a sigh of relief, a sigh of wonder and rightness. I started 
looking over my shoulder asking internally, "What is going on 
here?" I continued studying the people who were going about their 
day, and looking at the photos and quotes from Baba on the walls, 
but still I couldn't pinpoint the source of this feeling. Although I 
enjoyed the experience of the three hours at the Center that day, 
I kept my distance, not wanting to be fooled or lured into something 
that was not right for me. I was cautious about being caught in a 
religious system. 

I returned to the Center the following summer during the 
family reunion and stayed for six hours. Over time, following 
that visit, I became fascinated by the subject of Meher Baba. 
Now I realize that this was His grace. I looked Meher Baba up 
on the Internet and started a file folder of interesting articles and 
quotes. I read that when the Avatar comes every 700-1400 years, 
He comes as a human for humans, but also comes as a bird for 
birds, as an insect for insects, etc. I was amazed. I attended a 
lecture by Bhau Kalchuri and found his stories so interesting that 
I went home and wrote them down, pages and pages of them. 
At that program, I bought the book Meher Baba, The Awakener 
by Charles Haynes and to my surprise, cried my way through 
it; I was so touched by the stories he related. I am an analytical 
thinker and Baba stood the test of analysis over the first few years 
of exploring. The writings, the people I talked to about to me. So 
I continued to 'explore', attending Baba related meetings, and 
continued to have interesting experiences. Baba let me come to 
Him by my winding road. 

I was enjoying visiting the Center and going to Baba 
meetings in Chapel Hill and getting to know my new community. 
Over Thanksgiving in the year 2000, 1 was staying at the Center 
in the Coop cabin between the Meeting place and the Lagoon 
Cabin. I attended the evening program that featured the video, 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 219 

Mehera, Meher Baba s Beloved. Mehera related that when she 
was young that she was very shy around Baba, feeling giggly, 
hiding and keeping her distance, then peeking out to try to catch 
his glance. She said that throughout her life she wanted to do 
only what Baba wanted, wanting only to please Him. She seemed 
so childlike and dependent. 

I left the program and was mildly irritated, thinking that 
she should have been more assertive. What kind of life or fulfill- 
ment was that? I decided to stop in the Lagoon Cabin on my way 
to meet some fellow visitors in the kitchen. As I entered the empty 
cabin where Baba used to greet new visitors to the Center, I was 
nonchalantly standing by the door thinking about Mehera "s shy- 
ness. Then I heard Baba's voice internally say, "Come closer." 
My breath was deepened and I broke into overwhelming sobs. 
Baba called me to Him. I saw that I had also been shy and afraid 
to come close to Him. By His grace I surrendered to Him that 
night and have lived a render as I had prided myself in being 
independent spiritually and it took me awhile to believe it had 
happened. But, the feeling of closeness and belonging to Baba 
only grew. Learning about my new identity remains an ongoing 
process - discovering who I am, and what life is about now that I 
am with Baba. 

As I have heard since that time, we do not choose Baba. 
He chooses us. And I have also heard that He draws us to Him 
in the way in which we can each perfectly relate. I have come 
to know that Baba loves me and that by his grace, I love Him 
too. In the book Meher Baba, The Awakener, Baba illustrates 
to his followers that God is always speaking in our hearts. It 
is our part to learn to listen. Baba is communicating with me 
in an ongoing way, answering my questions as I take time to 
listen and keeping me close to Him as I remember to hold fast 
to His daaman. The struggle in my life is about releasing my 
expectations about life and the world, and my joy is in aligning 
my wish with His 

No matter how much of a new-to-Baba-person I am 
compared to others in Chapel Hill, Baba is mine 100% and I am 



220 Finding God In North Carolina 

His. In all my hopes and dreams, projects and relationships in 
this world, I am like a kid coming to Baba to tell Him the news 
and to get His suggestions. 

Kathy lives in Hillsborough. 

Eddie Hauser 

When I was a boy, my family lived in Queens, New York. Being 
Jewish, part of my education was to attend after school classes 
in Judaism. One thing I remember vividly was the teaching that 
the Mossiach (Messiah) was to come before the year 6000 in the 
Jewish calendar. It was already past 5700 and that meant there was 
reasonable probability he might come in my lifetime. This seemed 
pretty exciting to me, and I brought this to the attention of the 
teacher. He agreed, but had little enthusiasm about it. 

Two or three years went by, and I went to the 1 964 World's 
Fair which took place in New York. I happened to go by a booth 
offering information about Meher Baba and it somehow caught my 
attention. I was given a pamphlet, the Universal Message. I took 
it, read through it, and saw the photograph of a man pictured in it 
(Baba). The pamphlet was thought provoking and laid the claim 
that this man was God. I thought, Well he doesn 't have long hair 
or beard, or look like what I thought God would look like. There 
was not enough convincing evidence that I should pursue this any 
further. I tossed the pamphlet away. I totally forgot about this until 
many, many years later. 

A few years later during my freshman year at The State 
University of New York at Stony Brook, I was attracted to the 
counterculture and experimented with drugs. On one occasion 
while I was high, a friend of mine showed me a picture in a book 
of Sri Ramakrishna. When I saw that picture I said, "Oh, this guy 
is so happy. His mind is absolutely free." He seemed unbelievably 
at peace and his mind just soaring. I asked what this man was all 
about and my friend told me that he was a Hindu saint who said 
that God was everything. All of a sudden I thought, Is this what 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 221 

people mean when they talk about God? At that point in my life 
I was feeling pretty much agnostic, not thinking God was particu- 
larly significant in any way. Now seeing this picture, I thought, 
God might mean finding real freedom; ecstatic happiness. This 
was worth pursuing. 

Then I heard things about Timothy Leary and others who 
were experimenting with hallucinogens and attempting to find 
God that way. There was a very prevalent drug culture in 1968. 
I was always asking people who had taken LSD trips if they had 
seen God. No one would claim quite that. I also saw a publica- 
tion that was put out by Timothy Leary which speculated on the 
positive effects of LSD experiences. It also showed a picture 
of a man's face in a dart board. It was the face of Meher Baba. 
My impression which I expressed to a friend was that, "This 
guy really looks in touch with himself. Someone speaking nega- 
tively about him must be off base. He looks really sharp." 

I didn't know anything about Baba or his claims or 
remember the pamphlet I saw. Leary or the authors of the publi- 
cation apparently didn't like Baba's claim that He was God and 
of course Baba was against drugs. 

As the year went on, my girlfriend and I were reading and 
learning more about Eastern philosophies. She too, was fasci- 
nated by Eastern thought. We went to see Swami Satchitananda 
three or four times and we enjoyed his talks. We also went to see 
someone talk about Meher Baba at Queens College a few times. 
One book discussed was God Speaks. We decided this book 
would be worth getting. 

We went to Weiser's Bookstore in Manhattan and found 
God Speaks and other Baba books there too. As we were waiting in 
line to pay for the book, somebody behind us asked, "Oh, are you 
people Baba lovers?" It was Jerry Watson. He looked a little ques- 
tioningly at God Speaks and we said, "We have just heard about 
Meher Baba recently and wanted to get this book." He said, "Oh, 
well, it's a very hard book to read, so you might want to get a book 
like the Discourses which is a little easier to read." So we bought 
that as well. We continued talking about Baba and Jerry invited us 



222 Finding God In North Carolina 

to come over to his apartment. We wound up spending three for 
four hours talking about Baba and he gave us some Baba literature 
and pictures he had. He also told us about Baba meetings held in 
New York at The Society for Avatar Meher Baba and the Monday 
night meetings on 57th Street. 

It was the spring of 1969, around the time of the Last 
Darshan (although we knew nothing about that) when my girlfriend 
started to feel some experience of Baba's presence. I admit I was 
jealous of not also feeling that. I had been reading the Discourses 
and Baba's philosophy and guides to living were right on taget. 
His claims to divinity remained a big challenge to me. In August 
of that year, we went to our first Baba meeting in New York, just 
when Harry Kenmore had come back from his own personal Last 
Darshan. He told the story about passing a farmer on the road that 
touched his chin just as Baba had done in the past and he thought he 
had Baba's personal Darshan in that way. At this meeting we also 
met my good friend, Mark Muray, who was very friendly toward 
us newcomers. We went to Mark's apartment after the meeting 
ended and talked about Baba all night. 

We went to several more meetings in the next few months. 
In the meantime, I decided to stop taking drugs. I knew that Baba 
was not in favor of them. He clearly said one could not find God 
through drug experience and that it was even harmful. Also, shortly 
after that, I quit college after only one and a half years. I simply had 
little interest. I left for California, where I ended up living as a house 
mate with Mark Muray, who was now living there too. There I went 
to many Baba meetings, as well as several public Sufism Reoriented 
programs. I saw two of the mandali, Adi and Meherjee, speak. I was 
happy to be invited to the home of Joseph and Karie Harb who were 
long-time Baba lovers. I was able to visit their home regularly. I can 
only say I've never met anyone I liked better than Joseph Harb. We 
would sit and listen to his stories about Baba over and over again 
and simply enjoyed being in the company of he and his wife. 

I also made a trip to Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach 
in 1971. 1 was so impressed by the simple beauty of this place and 
felt the dynamic atmosphere there. At one moment it seemed my 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 223 

mind was just still and very mature. I rode around with Kitty in her 
golf cart as she showed me around. I felt Baba's presence in many 
ways. Still with all of this exposure, Baba's challenge to me was 
that He said He was God and I could not see Him that way. I loved 
going to the Baba functions and enjoyed my friendships with those 
who loved Him, but Baba's claim was still a challenge to me. 

After being in California a couple of years, I decided to go 
back to New York. I felt directionless in everyday life and just treading 
water. I thought, What can I do differently? Let me try to do something 
opposite of what I think I should be doing. I decided to try and find a 
job at a bank or at a realtor's office. They were the most opposite jobs 
from me I could think of. I found work in a realtor's office in Long 
Island for a couple of months, but sales were slow for everyone there 
and nonexistent for me. I had to leave and went to work for a small 
landscaping company with my brother. At this time I did not take any 
active interest or participation in Baba activities. About a year later, I 
looked up Stephen Shev, a good Baba friend from California who had 
also moved back to New York. Steve and I would visit occasionally 
and one day he said, "Let's go to the Center." 

So in early summer 1974, Steve and I decided to go to the 
Meher Spiritual Center. During this visit, I started to get anxious 
about my relationship with Baba. I saw Jane Haynes at Baba's 
house on a Sunday morning and I told her that I had some ques- 
tions and asked for some time to talk to her. She invited me to her 
house the next day. I told her my story and she embraced me on my 
way out. I felt as if Baba had embraced me and I felt Baba's pres- 
ence very strongly. That feeling did not go away. For the rest of my 
stay, Baba's love was just overwhelming. I kept thinking I would 
like more and more of this feeling, and by the time the week was 
over, I didn't know if I could contain any more. I was saturated. 
I still did not know if he was God, but I knew Baba's love was the 
greatest thing I had ever encountered. Through the years, I have 
come to value Baba's love as the love behind all other loves, and 
I believe it exists in everyone and everything. 

Eddie has lived in the Chapel Hill area since 1975. 



Icard 



Sue Frye 

From my childhood during the early Great Depression years, 
I had a religious bent and went regularly to a Baptist church with 
my father even if my siblings chose to stay at home with my mom. 
When I was eight we moved from Gastonia, North Carolina, to a 
rented house on a farm in Shady Grove. One evening, I walked 
with my father to a revival meeting at a church about two miles 
away. I do not know the denomination of the evangelist, but I was 
very moved by his description of what it was like to be 'saved'. 
I joined the group that responded to his altar call. My dad came 
up, prayed with me and seemed happy with me that I had made 
that decision. 

Back in my seat, I listened to the evangelist describe an 
even more exalted state, sanctification. I wanted that too, and in my 
fervor I went to the altar to be sanctified. But I was alone there. My 
father remained in his seat and did not seem happy when I rejoined 
him. On the walk home he asked me why in the world I had gone 
up to be sanctified. "But, Daddy," I replied, "That seemed even 
better than being saved." He informed me in a stern manner, "We 
don't believe in sanctification." 



226 Finding God In North Carolina 

He must have told my mom about this in the presence of 
my older sister and brother. My younger sister and brothers joined 
them in teasing me unmercifully. "Oh, don't say things like that 
in front of Sue. She's sanctified! Sue can't play this game. She's 
sanctified!" You can imagine the confusion and conflict this teas- 
ing generated in my eight-year-old mind when my heart had only 
been trying to respond to God's call. 

However, I remained sincere in my attempts to clarify for 
myself what my relationship to God should be. When I was nine, 
we moved into the house my dad had built for us in Icard, North 
Carolina. As a new member of the Sunday School at Icard Baptist 
Church, I was thrilled to be given my very own bible. I read it all 
the way through and was full of questions. I became particularly 
concerned about heaven and hell. I asked my mother, "Why should 
people who are born in other countries with different religions have 
to go to hell?" Her response that we had missionaries for that very 
reason did not satisfy me. 

All through public school, I attended church regularly 
even though I felt uncomfortable during the altar call. I couldn't 
be sure I had been saved when I was eight, and I never felt that 
rush of surrender again. By the time that I was 13, most of my 
friends had been saved and baptized and had joined the church. 
Some of the women of the congregation started pressuring me to 
follow the lead of my friends, but my heart was not prompted to 
do that. One of the women even came once to stand beside my 
pew during the altar call. I was embarrassed and frustrated by all 
this pressure and eventually went up to be saved even though I 
knew my heart was not in it. I was ashamed of myself for being 
hypocritical, but I was shy and could not bear the kind of atten- 
tion they were giving me. Church was the center of social life in 
the country, and I continued to attend until I finished high school 
despite the fact that I was often uncomfortable about my true 
relationship to God. 

I continued my attempts to clarify what this relationship 
should be throughout my years at Berea College in Kentucky 
and the five years I was married. If I began to explore a different 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 227 




Baba as Jesus, 1925, Photo Courtesy of M.S.I. Collection, India 



religion, I soon encountered concepts that confused me even fur- 
ther, and finally, I abandoned the search to become an agnostic 
in order to preserve my sanity. 

I gave little thought to religious matters for several years. 
But during the very difficult years following the breakup of my 
marriage to an artist whom I loved dearly, but who gradually 
became an alcoholic, I often longed to be able to lay my burdens 
at the feet of Jesus. But fear of another hypocritical surrender 
shoved that need aside as I struggled on to make a living for 
my young daughter and do the best I could to be the only parent 
she had. 



228 Finding God In North Carolina 

I was a teacher and kept going back to school - Appalachian 
State University for an MA in French, then a year of teaching before 
I went to the University of Georgia in 1 969 to begin work on a PhD 
in Romance Languages. I also taught undergraduate French courses. 
I noticed that one of my students who had not been passing suddenly 
began doing very well. I asked her what she had done to be able to 
turn things around so quickly. She told me that she had started to do 
Transcendental Meditation and now found it easy to accomplish all 
she had to do. I needed help with my busy and hectic life so I eagerly 
awaited the next arrival of an initiator on campus and began to do 
TM myself. I had some profound, transformational experiences that 
really tilted my psyche. I meditated twice a day and did yoga and 
felt laid back. 

I became frustrated with the antiquated program of the 
Romance Language Department after two years and was recruited 
into the Reading Education Department. I made the change so that 
my daughter would not have to move again before she finished 
high school. With the benefits of TM, I was able to parent my teen- 
ager, to work half time as a research assistant, and finish a PhD 
program in Reading Education in two more years. 

After about two years of teaching at Gaston College 
back in North Carolina, I noticed that Bill Stephens, who taught 
Criminal Law, was offering a course called something similar to 
Practical Mysticism in the Continuing Education Department. I 
thought, Hmm...that might be interesting, but since I taught two 
nights already and didn't relish the thought of coming out for a 
third night, I gave in to my reservation that it might deal with the 
occult. Before Bill was going to teach the course the next term, an 
article about him and his wife appeared in The Gastonia Gazette. 
Upon reading it, I thought, These are fascinating people. I've got 
to get to know them. The next day I walked upstairs and asked him 
about his course. When he found out that I did TM, he gave me the 
second volume of the Discourses. 

During the three weeks before the class was to begin, I did 
just enough to keep body and soul together and to teach my classes 
other than reading this fascinating book which was offering me the 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 229 

spiritual food I had so longed for. I wasn't zonked the way many 
people are as I was still very leery about not pretending to believe 
something I wasn't sure of. But for the first time in my life, I was 
being given a picture of a God that I could conceive of as a God 
of Love, One who never turned his back on anyone. I had always 
thought that reincarnation was the only thing that made sense if 
there was any God at all. I had to put many concepts encountered 
in my reading 'on hold' to think about later as I continued avidly 
to snatch whatever nourishment my soul was ready to receive. One 
thing that kept me going was an analogy in the introduction of one 
book that compared the spiritual path to climbing a mountain. At 
the base where the paths are widely separated, one can begin the 
climb without realizing that there are other ways to the top. But the 
closer one gets to the summit, the closer the paths come together. 

Bill taught that class, which was really about Baba and the 
spiritual path, three times. I took it along with about 20 others the 
last two times. In the Fall, he took the whole class to Meher Spiritual 
Center in Myrtle Beach. I loved the Center and the people I met 
there although I was very uncomfortable when people asked me 
when and how I had come to Baba. It was awkward to tell them 
that I wasn't yet sure that I had come to Baba. But I loved listening 
to their stories and feeling their love and unconditional acceptance 
of me as I was. I became good friends with Bill and his wife Peggy 
and returned often to the Center with them or made the four-hour 
drive on my own. 

In 1976, people started telling me that I should go to India. 
I replied that I didn't know yet how much of all this I believed. 
They assured me that I should go anyway as the mandali were 
all getting older: "You'll regret it some day if you don't get to 
meet them." In September, I had a three-week semester break and 
decided to go. Mike Quinn, a fellow classmate and long-time Baba 
lover, went with me. 

This was before the Pilgrim Center was built so we stayed 
at Viloo's home. Amrit and Dara were living there and were 
very helpful in arranging transportation to get us to Meherabad 
or Meherazad. We met all the mandali who were living there at 



230 Finding God In North Carolina 

the time and I loved listening to their stories, but was still very 
uncomfortable when anyone assumed greater devotion to Baba 
than I knew I felt. Mansari became my mentor and I spent more 
time with her and sitting in the tomb, often alone for a long time, 
than I did going to Meherazad. I was very glad to be meeting the 
mandali, to observe their one-pointed devotion to Meher Baba, to 
feel their unconditional love for everyone there and to see their 
eagerness to share Baba's love with each of us. I was particularly 
impressed by Mehera and Mani and Eruch and was a little afraid 
of Padri. Once he heard me wonder about a Gujarati word and 
asked if I was learning that language. "Oh no, I won't be here long 
enough for that." "Good!" he said emphatically. 

Mike wanted us to visit Bombay for about three days before 
our return flight.We stayed in the home of Nargis, the sister of 
Arnavaz and Rhoda. I got to sleep in a bed that Baba had slept in. 
In that intimate environment with Nargis telling us her stories, 
things started coming together for me. 

I don't know exactly at what point I started knowing that 
Baba really was the Avatar or Christ. The next year, I joined the 
Peace Corps for a two-year tour in Belize. I felt very close to Him, 
especially the first year, and knew that I was exactly where I was 
supposed to be and doing what I was supposed to be doing. 

From this vantage point in 2006, I can see that the two 
other sojourns that I had in India were necessary for my spiritual 
journey. In 1993, 1 went with my dear friends, Annette and Mitchell 
Boss, who had gone through some Unitarian years with me in the 
early 60 's. The last trip was in 1996 with my dear friends, Peggy 
and Bill Stephens, who had first told me about Baba. On the last 
day of that trip I could hardly bear to leave the tomb. I was crying 
so hard that Ted skipped the Happy Trails send-off. I had never 
before experienced that reluctance to leave. 

About two years later, I understood why. I was planning 
another trip for Baba's Birthday and had made most of the prepa- 
rations. During one of my morning reveries (My monkey mind 
won't stay focused long enough to call them meditations now), a 
stray thought about the trip came. Suddenly, these words were very 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 231 

clear in my mind: "I don't want you to go to India, Sue. I don't 
want you to ever go back. I want you to stay here and concen- 
trate on making Me your constant companion." I was both awed 
and humbled that He was giving me an order. "Well," I said as I 
wistfully touched Eruch's face on a nearby photograph, thinking 
I would never hear him tell any more stories in Mandali Hall. But 
immediately I remembered gratefully all the ways Baba has left us 
to draw near to Him wherever we might be - books, films, music, 
photos and his lovers. 

Before that reverie, I had loved Baba rather abstractedly. 
I did not have the personal attachment so many seemed to have. 
I had never been really comfortable in my own skin and tended to 
beat up on myself for my imperfections. Then it hit me! If Baba 
wants me to concentrate on making Him my constant companion, 
that means He wants me to be His companion. I fell in love with 
His person and began to love myself in Him as well as Him in me. 
Now if I can just get rid of this monkey mind! 

Sue lives in Icard. 



Pittsboro 



Eric Kastner 

I had a friend who was more spiritually inclined than me. She was 
into energy medicine and Reiki, and suggested "you should visit 
a beautiful place in Myrtle Beach. I'd like to take you down there 
sometime." I said, "Sure, I'd love to go." And she gave me the 
website address for the Meher Spiritual Center. I went to the web- 
site, read the Universal Message and was taken by how powerfully 
succinct it was. I was in a Sufi group, doing the Lakota Sundance, 
actively meditating and was reading a lot of Rumi. I read what 
Baba had said and thought, Here is somebody who understands. I 
didn't think though, This might be the Christ. 

This was in the Fall of 2005. I ended up going alone to the 
Center. I had told her, "No I'd like to go alone." On the way to 
the Center, I stopped the car and saw a beautiful orange flower on the 
side of the road, and put it in a notebook with blank pages. Before 
getting to the Center, I was driving back and forth on the highway 
as there was no address. I had a sense I was going the wrong way, 
so I stopped at the Mall traffic light, and was going to do a u-turn 
towards the left. All of a sudden, I started taking Baba's name: Baba, 
Baba, Baba, while my blinker was turning left into the mall. 



234 Finding God In North Carolina 

My gaze shot over to the right as I was taking His name 
and I saw the wooded entrance to the Meher Spiritual Center. I was 
intuitively drawn in that direction and I crossed all five lanes to go 
into the Center. I received a loving welcome by the receptionist. 

Also, to add something else... The night before coming 
down, I was a party at a friend's and I had met this man, Ken Novak, 
who was a Baba lover, but I didn't know it at the time. He seemed 
inclined toward spiritual matters, somebody who had been 'around', 
a healer. He mentioned he did palmistry and I asked him to read my 
palm and he said, "I really don't do those things anymore." I said, 
"In my heart I am moved to ask you if you would read my palm." 
So he brought me out front and did a long reading and, as he was 
finishing, a pendant with Baba's picture fell out of his shirt. I said, 
"Oh, I'm going there tomorrow. Is there anything you're moved to 
share with me before I go?" He said, "Go to Baba's bedroom and 
ask Him to balance your karma and remove sanskaras." What I took 
from it was to go to His bedroom and speak from the heart. 

So anyway, I arrived at the Center, checked in, had a tour 
of Baba's house and I was anxious to get to His bedroom. Finally 
after the tour, we had our alone time and was able to get into the 
bedroom. I was really into meditation practices and things and got 
into a quiet meditative state. Instead of asking what he had told me 
to ask, I started repeating from my heart, Guide me to a Perfect 
Master. I was seeking. 

I had a Sufi guru in Chapel Hill. Nothing was fulfilling. All 
the seeking and reading, Rumi and meditating, and the so-called 
Sufi master in town. It just wasn't fulfilling. I wanted to be guided 
to a perfected Being. So, in a very deep space, I was asking to 
be guided to a Perfect Master over and over again. So all of a 
sudden came a feeling of fire and of burning through my body in 
which it was very clear that the Perfect Master was right there was 
right there with me and not really separate from me. Just kinda 
right there. I didn't have any thoughts was completely empty, in an 
altered state for awhile, but my mind was still interpreting it as a 
here and now Buddhist nothingness, and I still had a resistance to 
His picture or form. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 235 

About three weeks went by, and then, one morning, I woke 
up back to a regular state and thought, Oh, I guess I have to do 
something. Weeks and months went by and things got stirred up 
and then I was inclined to go back to the Spiritual Center in Myrtle 
Beach. And on the way down, I was taking His name, maybe half 
an hour from the Center, feeling close, and all of a sudden I ran a 
red light and I felt a car come straight into my door. I got into an 
accident. I ended up on the side of the road in between two trees at 
an intersection. After the police came, I found out 20 people had 
died earlier in this same place. I walked out of the car unharmed. 
I felt very much Baba's will in it. I got out of the car right away to 
see if the woman who had hit me was ok. The first thing my eyes 
gazed to was her holy bible on the passenger seat. She was on her 
way to church and I was on my way to the Center. She was ok. 
They asked if I wanted to go to the hospital and I said, "No I want 
to straight back to the Center, to Baba's room.' , In my mind I was 
thinking that the hospital is at the Spiritual Center. My body was 
ok. I wasn't going to die or anything. I was a little shaken up. 

So I went to the Center and checked in on a day when 
His bedroom was open. I wanted to go straight to his bedroom. I 
arrived a little early, and although the first time I came I had already 
done a tour, I was moved to do a tour again. While going through 
the tour, we came to a book in a framed case and as soon as I saw 
it, I kind of froze and wasn't listening to what the tour guide was 
saying about that book. So I asked her if she could please repeat 
what she was saying? She told the story about Elizabeth and the 
accident in Oklahoma and how Baba and told her about this date 
and to write it in her book and put a flower there. I interpreted it as 
Him telling me He was with me and watching and was responsible 
for things. 

Shortly after, a woman came up and gifted me a piece of 
the windshield from the accident in Oklahoma. I felt this very per- 
sonally and lovingly. The first time I had been to the Center I didn't 
think of it as somebody loving me more than I could understand. 
I didn't attribute anything to the form or the name. Now in a very 
blatant way, through the car accident, He was saying, "I'm here." 



236 Finding God In North Carolina 

But I was still exploring who Meher Baba was. Is He 
listening to all my thoughts? Later on that visit, I thought about the 
rule Baba had made that you need covered shoes and a flashlight at 
night at the Center. One night I had no flashlight and no shoes and 
the nightwatchman said, "Where are your shoes and flashlight? We 
have to respect this rule Baba had given." I said, "I'm sorry. The 
next time I'll have my shoes and flashlight." 

The next night rolled around and I was in the Green Cabin 
close to the Lagoon Cabin and I wanted to go there just to pray. 
Earlier that day, I was at lunch and Jonathan was telling a story 
about Perfect Masters and, as he was getting to the climax of the 
story, he got a phone call and was interrupted. I was hanging at 
the climax of the story at the edge of my chair waiting to hear the 
end of the story. Then here I was, the next night, in my room and 
I had my sandals and I had my covered shoes right next to each 
other. And I looked up at Baba's picture on the wall. I was staring 
at Baba's eyes in the picture and was thinking: 

I'm all about love and what's for the highest good of the 
universe, but lam not one to blindly follow a rule. I need to experi- 
ence a reason to follow it. So, Baba, if you 're really listening to me 
right now and are responsible for my thoughts, words and actions, 
I am going to go to the Lagoon Cabin with my sandals on. I am not 
trying to hurt anyone. I just want to pray and meditate and I want 
to see if there is a reason why I should be wearing these shoes. If 
you provide an experience, I will happily wear covered shoes at 
all times. 

So, I left my cabin with my sandals on and within 
30 seconds, Jonathan came with a flashlight and asked, "Where 
are your covered shoes? You have to respect this rule Baba had 
made." I was smiling inside at the immediacy of the response, but 
I wasn't completely sold yet. I guess I am a stubborn one (laughs). 
I said, "Ok, Til go back to my cabin and get my shoes, but could 
you please finish the story you were telling at lunch?" He said, 
"Sure. I'd love to." He shared the story and its moral was that 
obedience was higher than love. Don't ask any questions. This 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 237 

was right after I'd looked at the picture! He is always with us, in 
us and around us. 

I stayed at the Center about nine days and left with an 
urge to go to India. So a few months later, I went to India and 
Meherabad and ended up finishing the trip staying at the Trust 
Compound and taking dictation for Bhauji. It has all been quite 
fast and now I am just trying to live more willingly, lovingly and 
happily, following God in the way He would want us to follow 
Him. Finding that no matter what I do or think, He is always there 
with me and continues providing unconditional love that is always 
there with us. I am trying to surrender to that more and live in a 
way that would please Him. 

Eric lives in Pittsboro. 



Raleigh 



Cindy Bizzell 

When I was about six years old in Arden, North Carolina, I had 
this strong desire to be baptized in church. My parents were 
worried that I didn't know what that meant in the Baptist tradi- 
tion. I think they didn't think I understood I was proclaiming 
some connection to Jesus. So I had this profession of faith and 
I was baptized. Then I didn't think much about church. In high 
school, while living in Danville, Virginia, I had an enlivening of 
my faith. I had a desire to have a public connection to Jesus and I 
really lived a pretty devout Christian life, having daily devotional 
time, and being really active in church. I felt really connected to 
Jesus. 

In 1975 I went to Meredith College in Raleigh, North 
Carolina. For the first couple of years, I still had that devout con- 
nection with Christian practice. Later, I got married to Chuck 
Mays and he and I went to church, but I was troubled because it 
didn't feel very real to me. 

Chuck is the way I came to Meher Baba. In 1986, my 
former college roommate, Beth Taylor, knew a woman named 
Martha Buchanan who was living at home with her parents. Beth 



240 Finding God In North Carolina 

told us that Martha might want to stay at our house while we 
went to Costa Rica. So she did stay at our house. 

Later, Martha showed up as a temporary worker at Chuck's 
company and somehow they started talking about a class she was 
taking in computer programming. And Chuck helped Martha with 
that class. When the class was over, Martha wanted to thank Chuck, 
and so she asked him to go to dinner. At dinner, they started talking 
about Edgar Cayce and Chuck really had a great connection with 
him. Martha had an equal resonance with Edgar Cayce too. So she 
said to Chuck, "If you like Edgar Cayce, you will really like this 
book, The Autobiography of a Yogi. So she loaned him that book 
and Chuck and I both read it. 

That was the book that opened up my thinking beyond the 
Baptist faith and message. It was my introduction to reincarnation 
and miracles. It opened up some thinking for me. Then Martha said, 
"If you really liked that book, then you will really like this." So 
she loaned us Much Silence (a book about Meher Baba). We read 
it and returned it and then she was kind of out of books. So she 
gave us Steven Gage's name, a Baba lover who lived in Raleigh. 
So we gave him a call and Steve said, "Why don't you come over 
for dinner?" 

So we went to Steve and Stephanie's (his wife) for dinner. 
At dinner, we talked a little bit about Baba. I remember asking 
both of them what it was like for them (to be with Baba). Then 
Steven loaned us a bunch of books. This was in 1987. We read 
the books and were learning about Baba. Then we heard about 
the Center went there in 1988. We met Kitty, went on the tour and 
went to a couple of programs. My love and appreciation for Baba 
just grew and grew. 

We went to India in February, 1990. Mehera had just 
died. It was a fertile time. God became alive for me again. I 
started thinking about Baba's message: You and I are not we 
but one. Then I went through a few years when I did not feel 
that connected to Baba. I connected to Him first as God more 
impersonally, then over the years, I started to connect with Him 
through His message: You are God and I am God. It is just that 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 24 1 

I am conscious of it. I have become more conscious of my own 
divinity. I now see that we all are Divine and human. He knew 
Himself completely as both. 

Cindy lives in Raleigh. 



Martha Buchanan-Forte 

I had the good fortune to grow up in a family in Raleigh, North 
Carolina, that was sincerely religious, but in a balanced kind of 
way. I was also fortunate to grow up in a Protestant Baptist church 
that didn't fit anyone's stereotypical idea of a Baptist Church. One 
of the most important things about the church was no one ever 
told me what to believe. This was very appealing. It was definitely 
a faith community with spiritually minded people. I learned the 
whole Christian faith, but we were encouraged to have fun and 
question. There were a lot of academics in the church and intellec- 
tuals. My parents, however, did not fit that description. 

I remember going through the baptism in our church. You 
were not baptized until you were old enough to have a role in it. 
You were supposed to be at least 1 2 years old or old enough to 
say, "This is what I want and I now understand." I was interested 
enough and drawn to God enough to be baptized as early as I could. 
I remember having this idea of God in my head and who God was. 

It wasn't until I was in college in the late 1 970's that I really 
started thinking again about spirituality. I became very interested in 
metaphysics. I read C.S. Lewis, Edgar Cayce, Shirley MacLaine, 
A Course in Miracles; the smorgasbord of folks. I had some inter- 
esting experiences and thought I was finding more of my intuition 
and minor psychic faculties. I had also some interesting dreams 
about being a man in another century. 

Already full swing into metaphysics, I went to Europe to 
study music and found my myself in a community of American and 
Canadian opera singers in Dusseldorf, Germany who were very 
interested in metaphysics. This connection between musicians and 



242 Finding God In North Carolina 

spirituality is almost a cliche. I later discovered many Baba lovers 
who were musicians. Still searching for something, but not fully 
aware that that was what I was doing, I also sought help from a 
number of psychics. 

In my mid 20's in 1986, I came back to Raleigh at a 
crossroads - trying figure out which way to go. Then I met Randy 
Wasserstrom and decided to take an astrology class taught by 
him. Randy and I had something in common; not only our interest 
in spirituality, but our similar astrology charts. We developed a 
friendship and shared our mutual interests and eventually Randy 
told me about Baba. Because I trusted Randy. I felt completely 
open to what he had to say about Meher Baba. The more I read, 
that was the end my search. I have never had the slightest interest 
in anything else spiritually except for things that are ancillary. 

I moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1987. Eleven years 
later, I decided to go to India for the first time. I needed to tell 
my parents, but they did not understand Baba and were concerned 
about my having joined a cult. They went to the minister of the 
church in Raleigh and expressed their concern to him. I had got to 
know him because he married my husband, Paul, and I. He knew that 
I was a Baba lover and was okay with it. So my mother said to him, 
"We're worried about Martha." And he said, "Has she changed? 
Has her behavior become strange?" My mother said, "No." And he 
said, "I would say that you should trust your daughter." 

Now in 2006, I'm just amazed that after 20 years my 
connection to Baba continues to grow and change. It is quite a 
journey. 

Martha grew up in Raleigh, and lived there again in 1986-7. 
She now lives in the Boston area. 

Deborah Burns 

I grew up in Shelby, North Carolina and went to an area near the 
Center my whole childhood (SO's and 60's) every single year. 
Every year I walked along that stretch of beach near the Center. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 243 

My mom and I would take these long walks. We stayed at the 
Ocean Forest Hotel and we would walk to the beach and go 
swimming. 

At age 13, in 1967, and in 7th grade, my best friend Niki 
Paksoys and I made an appointment to speak about Niki's father's 
faith (he was a Muslim) to our minister, Reverend Waterson, 
at a First Baptist Church youth retreat at Ridge Crest Baptist 
Assembly. Reverend Waterson was almost like GOD to us, so 
it was scary and exciting to come to him with this big question 
about her dad's faith. Mr. Paksoys was a good person, kind and 
never raised his voice. Our question to the Reverend was about 
whether Mr. Paksoys had to accept Jesus Christ to get to God, as 
he was a Muslim. Reverend Waterson told us that Niki's father 
was going to Hell if he did not accept Jesus as his Savior. Right 
then on the spot, I knew that was not true! I just knew that was 
not the way it worked - that there was a loving God, and in my 
own primitive way, there was a oneness. 

Niki and I talked about it afterwards and neither of us 
believed what Reverend Waterson said was true. In fact, Niki 
never went back to church after that day. It was a turning point for 
me as I recognized for the first time that even adults didn't know 
everything. From that day on, I began searching consciously and 
unconsciously for God. I remember sneaking out of the house at 
night to go lie on top of the little barn in our backyard and look up 
at the stars, wondering about God and how he worked. 

The Baptist explanation never made sense to me although 
I grew up in the Baptist Church, went to Sunday School, went 
to Wednesday night services and went to youth camp retreats in 
the summer. When I was a junior or senior in high school, my 
brother and his girlfriend gave me a book called Be Here Now. I 
just devoured that book. I remember clearly seeing Meher Baba's 
picture in it. I also read the book Our Bodies Ourselves. It had a 
chapter on spirituality which fit so well with this idea of oneness I 
had in me already. 

When I was a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill in 1972, 1 was 
going to meet a guy in my English class for my first beer. I was 



244 Finding God In North Carolina 

very excited. I grew up in a dry county and I didn't know anybody 
who drank beer. I was very sheltered. So, I was walking to the bar 
to meet the guy for the beer. He said it was down an alleyway right 
off of Franklin Street, Chapel Hill's main street. I found the alley- 
way and went up some steps to what I thought was going to be the 
bar. I saw all these pictures of this man, Meher Baba. The place 
reminded me of a coffee house in Shelby and it was obviously not 
a bar. I asked someone there if they knew where the bar was and 
they told me how to get there. I left without even asking who was 
in the pictures. I did not find out until years later that I had walked 
into the Chapel Hill Baba group's reading room! I didn't think 
about the pictures and did not remember that I had seen Baba's 
picture in Be Here Now. 

About that same year, Niki's parents bought a condo in 
Arcadia One in Myrtle Beach very near the Meher Spiritual Center. 
Then for the rest of college and afterwards, we would go there for 
spring break and sometimes in the summer. We took long walks on 
the beach often walking past the Arrow Wood Campground and on 
the Center's beach without knowing it. 

The summer after my freshman year in college, I went 
to Nantucket and worked in a restaurant, The White Elephant, 
where I worked as a dishwasher and got room and board free. 
I also took a course that summer in Transcendental Meditation. 
I had taken a class in T.M. during my freshman year in college 
and this was a followup. I worked for a month and saved a lot 
of money. My parents had told me that I couldn't go to Alaska 
to visit my brother and my boyfriend, but I wanted to go any- 
way. So without my parents knowing, I took this train trip across 
Canada. I went from Nantucket to the mainland and then a bus 
to Montreal and then the train across Canada. I had a bag of 
granola and that was it to eat for three days. For most of those 
three days, I talked to the guy sitting next to me about God. He 
told me he thought God was in everything and in everyone. I 
was just so wide open. The idea really affected me and I already 
believed it. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 245 

In 1978, I got married and moved to Raleigh. In 1982 I 
had a child, Zack. The following year, I really wanted to go on a 
retreat and asked Dan Chartier, president of an organization called 
The Wellness Center, for his suggestion of where to go. Dan said, 
"Do you know about the Baba Center? Why don't you go talk 
to Steven Gage about it?" I did so and he told me about how to 
go and how to get there. I went for the first time to the Center in 
January of 1984. 

That first trip was both unremarkable and remarkable. 
When I walked into the Gateway, I recognized the picture of Baba 
that I had seen when I was a freshman in college. I stayed in Cabin 
on the Hill on the right side of the cabin. There was a picture in my 
cabin that I held and just cried. I was just so taken with so much 
love that I had never felt before. I cried and cried and cried. I had 
no understanding about what was happening, but I knew some- 
thing had happened and that I had to come back to the Center. 
Before I left, I bought a Baba picture, the one in which He is sitting 
in the cane chair, and I took it home with me. 

At home, I would sit and meditate with the picture every 
day. Sometimes I would even sleep with it. Then I went back to 
the Center for three weekends in close proximity and after that, 
kept going back again and again. Although I was so open to the 
new experience of Baba, I also had a lot of mental resistance 
to Baba being God. My strict upbringing with Jesus Christ as 
Savior added to my resistance. I also was uncomfortable with 
people saying things like, "Jai Baba" and "How did you come 
to Baba?" I also thought it was really weird having all these 
pictures of Baba everywhere. 

Additionally, I thought, How can I be devoted to a man? 
But one time Jeff Wolverton said to me, "It doesn't matter. 
Why don't you give yourself a chance to love Meher Baba?" 
He also showed me the simple list of "How to Love God." I 
tried to hold onto the simple idea of just loving Baba instead of 
getting into all the mental stuff. I made the decision to choose 
to love Him. 



246 Finding God In North Carolina 

In 1986, 1 went to India. I had to go. I had no idea really 
what it was about. I hardly understood who Baba was. Just 
before going there, I went on a trip to Europe with my parents 
and my brother. We were in Rome, from where I was going to fly 
to Bombay and from where my parents and brother were going 
to return to the United States. My plane was leaving first so they 
walked me to my gate where my mother handed me a $100 bill 
and said, "Now come back Christian!" I went and it has been 
getting better ever since. 

On that first trip to India (I have been there six times), it 
was very difficult mentally and emotionally. Many of my early 
trips to the Center had also been difficult emotionally. So much 
stuff, the yuckiest of the yuckiest parts of me, would come up. It 
was almost more than I could handle. But I did meet Mehera and 
Pendu. I felt so much connection to Pendu. He had had a stroke 
and I could hardly understand him. I remember him touching my 
chest at the heart area and feeling a bolt of love. I knew there was 
more to life than I could possibly understand. I had always known 
this from very early life. Coming to Baba, I knew all this was in 
His realm. I would just do my best to love Him. 

The second trip to India, in 1989, was incredible. I 
remember being in the Tomb by myself and sitting up on the 
side of the Tomb. I was about parallel with where I imagined 
His shoulder to be, and putting my head down on the Tomb right 
there. I felt a physical crack in my being. It was like lightning 
going through me! I felt cracked open. From then on, I have felt 
Baba's love more and more deeply. 

Deborah has lived in Chapel Hill and Raleigh. She now 
lives in Asheville. 

Ron Davis 

I don't really have a definite point in my life that I can point to and 
say that is where I first found or experienced Baba. Most of my 
spiritual beliefs from my first memories were philosophically and 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 247 

theologically consistent with Baba's teachings, however I didn't 
know this. 

What I have always believed in my relationship with God, 
my relationship others and within the universe is very much Baba. 
I grew up attending several different Protestant churches and 
enjoyed those experiences. 

My life changed during the Vietnam War. I was in the Navy 
and served in Vietnam. On our voyage there and back, we sailed 
around the world, and one of the ports we visited was in Conchin, 
India. We spent about a week there. As I think back, I believe some- 
thing happened on this voyage. There was nothing that occurred 
that made a light go off. It was more reflective. 

I first found Baba by name in the early 70 's, by which time 
I was married and had two small children. I have always been 
spiritually driven and constantly have read books related to this 
subject matter. I purchased a copy of Life At Its Best at B. Dalton 
Bookstore at Crabtree Valley, Raleigh, and first read Baba's words. 
It was like coming home. His words spoke directly to my heart. 
Things that I believed, that I felt within me, were synonymous 
with His words. Over time, I continued to find Baba books at that 
B. Dalton. I didn't know until years later that Baba lovers were the 
ones responsible for putting those books there. Thanks to you all. 

Ron lives in Raleigh. 

Rebecca Eagles 

I am somewhat embarrassed both by my original motives in going 
to the Meher Spiritual Center, and by a number of judgments in 
the subsequent trips. But there is also humor and irony involved, 
which helps. And perfection. Especially in the first visit to the 
Center and the only trip to India. What a perfect way for a seventh 
house Libra, who is terrified of relationships, to be introduced to 
Baba and to the Center: through a dating relationship. And what 
a perfect way to get a gun-shy Libra to go to India: through an 
invitation by a dear Baba friend. 



248 Finding God In North Carolina 

As a child I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church and 
attended every service or event possible: Sunday school and 
Sunday morning and Sunday night worship services; Wednesday 
night Girls Auxiliary meetings as well as choir practice; Bible 
study classes and Bible school in the summer; summer church 
camp, both as a camper and as a counselor. I somehow, luckily, 
never believed what our preacher preached - that God judged and 
punished us for our sins, and that we should fear him. Somehow I 
grew up believing that He is a loving God. 

I was very serious as a child, and when alone, I sang aloud 
songs to Jesus and talked to God in my mind. As a teenager I wrote 
poems and letters to God every summer at the beach while sitting 
on the sand looking at the ocean. I wanted to be a youth minister. 

As a college student at Salem College in Winston-Salem in 
the early 1970's, and throughout my twenties, I didn't know what 
I wanted. I attended many church services of different denomina- 
tions, searching for something that made sense to me, both about 
God and about life. I never found it. I explored mysticism, medita- 
tion, astrology, Edgar Cayce books and readings, psychic phenom- 
enon, self-help books, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, metaphysics, 
universal laws, and whatever else I could find. I attended lectures 
and workshops on many of these topics, joined a meditation/ 
healing group, and I kept searching. Not really knowing what I 
was searching for, still writing letters to God. 

I moved to Raleigh in 1982 at the age of 31 and briefly 
dated a man who invited me for a weekend to the Meher Spiritual 
Center. This man wasn't then a Baba lover. He had been to the 
Center previously, and he described it as a retreat center for Baba's 
followers which was surrounded by a beautiful forest. He also said 
it was 'a cheap place to stay at the beach'. Having always wanted to 
go to a spiritual retreat center, forever loving nature and the ocean, 
wanting to get to know this man a little more, and then always up 
for an adventure, I went. 

After that trip I visited the Center a number of times as a 
"cheap place to stay at the beach." I was lucky enough to spend 
either weekends or ten-day to two-week vacations there, and I 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 249 

usually created my own form of spiritual retreat. I loved resting 
in the window seat in the library, gazing out the window and 
daydreaming, thinking about God and life. I loved watching the 
birds fly over the lake in the early morning hours. I often went to 
the Center totally exhausted and stressed out from a very demand- 
ing job and travel schedule, zilch personal boundaries, and no 
self-care skills. I frequently slept and rested in my cabin for a couple 
of days before emerging and beginning my spiritual retreat. 

Although I really loved meditating and praying in the 
Lagoon cabin, kneeling at Baba's chair, and just 'hanging out' 
there, I never really felt a need to talk about Him. Doing so felt 
foreign and uncomfortable because I had never really talked a lot 
about God to anyone (despite my early upbringing in the church). 
So much of my relationship with God had been internal and pri- 
vate. Often in the Lagoon cabin whenever I tried to figure out if I 
believed Baba was/is God, and if so, should I change what I had 
called Him all through the years? My brain just stopped working. 
And my heart kicked in. 

I am a little (maybe a lot!) embarrassed about how badly 
I judged everything during my stays at the Center over the next 
several years due to just plain ole silly ignorance. I couldn't under- 
stand why people talked about Baba so much. Or more impor- 
tantly, why exactly people thought He was God. What did it matter 
if I did or didn 't as long I loved God? Or why some of the workers 
would quit a good job with good benefits to move to the Center to 
work for much less pay. Or why folks kept saying one had to go to 
India, especially if you weren't sure Baba was who He said he was. 
I wondered, Why spend that much money, time, and effort going to 
see His tomb, especially if you just weren 't quite sure about Him? 
It didn't make a bit of sense to me. Also not making any sense 
to me was some of the terminology, i.e. 'dropping one's body' or 
'how I came to Him.' I am too literal and it took a long time before 
I could figure out those phrases. 

There were a number of times in visiting the Center that 
stand out and that helped me see His incredible love and minute 
attention to what I needed; They were gentle turning points in my 



250 Finding God In North Carolina 

journey. One incident involved a powerful experience I had while 
staying at the Hermitage and staring at one of His pictures on the 
wall. I shared an experience with a caretaker, Jeff Wolverton, and he 
told me that a number of people had told him of their own powerful 
experiences while staring at that same picture. 

Another experience involved Kitty, who I just fell in love 
with when I first met her. She was in her final months and I hap- 
pened to run into a woman who was sitting with her. I asked about 
Kitty and she told me that Kitty wasn't eating well at all, despite 
their trying to tempt her with different foods. And, she hadn't eaten 
anything at all that day. I was really sad. On the way back to the 
Original Kitchen I decided to take her an apple, to see if that would 
help. I left it with the woman sitting with her. The next day she 
sought me out to tell me that Kitty did eat part of it, and they were 
all surprised and delighted. That was clearly one of many gifts 
from Baba to me. 

The incident which completely changed everything for me 
regarding Baba happened in the Fall of 1989. Mark DeMatteis, who 
was a new friend, and at the same time felt like a very dear, very old 
one, invited me to go with several Baba lovers to India the next year 
during Amartithi. I wanted to go - kind of- but kept struggling with 
it making any sense because of the expense, time, energy, etc. And 
struggling because of my fears of intimacy, even with 'just friends'. 
Again, my old question of 'Why go?' surfaced. Constantly. I was 
talking with someone outside the Original Kitchen about their trip 
to India, and, as they walked away, I stood there and couldn't move. 
I was in an absolute daze. It felt like I had just 'fallen head over 
heels in love' with Baba. So, instead of 'Why go?' my question then 
became, 'How could I not go?' And, of course, I went to India in 
January, 1990. 

At times during my stays at the Center and during my trip 
to India, it felt as if Baba was helping me to develop a new rela- 
tionship with God, as well as helping me to remember a very deep, 
very old one with Him. This gentle unfolding process seemed to 
contain and mirror the fears and unpredictability, at times, of a new 
relationship, as well as the comfortable intimacy and quiet, deep 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 251 

joy of an old one. And, I am certain my journey began long before 
my first visit to the Center. 

Because of many, many things I have not been able to go back 
to India, and I have been unable to go to the Center in an extremely 
long time. However, as I did when I was child, I talk to God frequently, 
sometimes calling Him God, and sometimes saying His name, Baba. 
And I often feel so lucky and so grateful that my 'new, old" relation- 
ship with Him seems filled with Love and Grace, especially during 
challenging times, as well as in the quiet moments. 

Rebecca lives in Holly Springs, near Raleigh. 

Stephanie Gage 

I first heard about Baba in August, 1974, in Cincinnati, Ohio, after 
receiving a letter from my boyfriend, Steve, who was vacationing 
with his family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. As the letter pro- 
gressed, he proceeded to tell me about this incredible spiritual cen- 
ter he visited and basically, found God. I found this very threatening 
because Steve was never into religion or even the least bit spiritual. 
He used to challenge me about my Catholic rearing and education 
saying it was all a crutch. Now, not only had he found God, but told 
me this Meher Baba was the latest incarnation of Jesus Christ, a 
Persian man who kept silence and died in 1969. One day, no God, 
the next day, total surrender. I definitely was not expecting this. 

I got very irritated and kept asking myself: Where would 
this take he and I? What was wrong with my religion and spiritual 
leanings? Why didn 't he listen to me when we discussed God in the 
past? And what was wrong with Jesus? The more I read Steve's 
letter, the more agitated I became, and finally wadded it up and 
threw it in the trash. When we did talk on the phone days later, he 
briefly mentioned the Center, but I was not ready to hear any more 
about Meher Baba. 

That September, I went to visit Steve at Duke University 
in Durham, North Carolina, where he was going to school. When 
he went to class one day, I saw Baba books on his shelf and 



252 Finding God In North Carolina 

pulled one down to see what all this Baba stuff was about. I don't 
remember the name of the book, but I was very intrigued and 
kept reading. The information and messages resonated with me, 
but I still wasn't ready to be immersed, so when Steve returned 
from class, I quickly put the book back and didn't even tell him I 
was 'kinda-sorta' interested in Baba. 

As time went by, Steve would talk more and more openly 
about Meher Baba and went to the Center numerous times. I even- 
tually began asking Steve questions and reading more about Baba. 
Although I was still very resistant, I was gradually becoming more 
interested. We got married in 1976 and in 1979, we moved to 
Raleigh, North Carolina. 

In January, 1980, at Amartithi, I finally went to the Center 
for the first time. I remember it was snowing and perfectly lovely. 
Steve gave me a tour and introduced me to many very friendly 
people, but was very low-key, knowing I had to come to Baba 
in my own time. I didn't want to go to the Friday evening meet- 
ing, but I did go to Baba's house on Sunday and had a tour there. 
Everyone was really friendly and nice. The next day, I went to the 
Amartithi program in the Barn and although it was kinda bizarre, 
the program made my heart feel so warm and loving. 

I'm not really sure when I came to Baba. Going back to the 
Center more and more often, I opened up and met more people. I 
have to do things on my own terms, so it took me a long time to 
embrace it all. I was never a Baba lover in the devoted way some 
people seemed to be. 

In 1989, I went with Steve to India, and the first night we 
got there, they had Dhuni. I turned to Steve and said, "You've got 
to get me out of here. I'm never going to last two weeks!" But in 
my Dhuni, I released that fear and then it was a great trip. I enjoyed 
it a lot. I also remember being at the women's porch where Mani 
asked me to tell my story. I was a bit freaked out as I thought 
my story was not 'interesting'. However, I told it and the mandali 
women were loving and accepting. 

When I went back to India in 1996, it was even more 
loving. I had a private room, and liking to be alone, it was perfect. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 253 

I really do love Baba and say His name all the time. When I'm 
jogging, I use His name as my mantra. I feel very peaceful when I 
remember Baba. 

Stephanie lives in Raleigh with her husband Steven. 

Steven Gage 

I never had an interest in spirituality. I joined the local church 
because my parents wanted me to. It didn't feel meaningful. Part 
of that is just adolescence. I am not sure people are ready for a con- 
nection with God at that early age. 

Then in 1971 I went away to college at Duke University 
where I got involved in partying. I liked pot because I liked the 
spaciness of it and I liked getting out of my head. But I got tired 
with that. It got boring and one of my friends said: "I am going 
to Majorca, Spain, to learn meditation with the Maharishi. You 
need to think about that. You might really like this meditation." He 
started talking about higher states of consciousness and I started 
getting an inner excitement about that. 

This was in 1973, the year I started becoming a vegetarian 
and reading Be Here Now by Ram Dass. Just was going through 
my own inner awakening. Then on Groundhog Day of 1974, I 
learned Transcendental Meditation. I loved it. I didn't necessar- 
ily like the organization, but I loved the experience of meditation. 
Then in August, 1974, 1 went to Myrtle Beach with an old family 
friend, who was to be my roommate. We were sitting on the beach 
and, noticing a No Entry gate behind us and I said, "Let's go in see 
what's back there." So, we walked in past the No Entiy gate and 
it said, $100 fine, so we said, "Nah, let's don't do that." We came 
back out and as we did, this kid was walking by with a surfboard. 
I asked him, "Excuse me. Do you know what's back there?" The 
kid said, "Yeah. That's the Avatar Meher Baba Spiritual Center." 
I said, "Oh, oh, that's Pete Townsend's guru!" He said, "Yeah,"and 
we started talking about going around to the Gateway of the Center 
and entering there. 



254 Finding God In North Carolina 

I got really excited and we walked back to the condo- 
minium where we were staying. We got my friend's car, drove 
to the Gateway and got out of the car. We unlatched the gate 
and this black cloud of mosquitoes descended on us, like noth- 
ing I had ever seen before!! Get this: we got back in the car 
and went back to the condominium! The next morning I said I 
wanted to go find out about this Baba thing but my friend said, 
"I want to play golf. Come on. Let's go play golf." My dad and 
his dad were going and wanted us to go. I said, "No, I want to 
go to the Center." They went to play golf and I walked to the 
Center from the beach and went right past the No Entry gate. 
Remember in the old days it was all wooded and wonderfully 
lush down there? 

The dirt road made a little 's' curve there just past the park- 
ing area and all of a sudden, my heart went 'womp!' and my heart 
opened up and I began to weep profusely. I said to myself, "I'm 
home, I'm home." It was real clear, absolutely laid out in my heart 
that I was truly home. I had searched all my life, even though I 
was only 2 1 years old, for this one moment of being home. It was 
just exquisite. So my heart remained open and I went running up 
the path to the Gateway, tears streaming, just totally blissed out 
from this grace. Fred Winterfeldt was working there and seeing my 
state, had compassion for me. The first thing he said was, "Who 
are you and where are your shoes?" (A Meher Spiritual Center rule 
is that guests are required to wear closed-toed shoes). 

Anyway, that's how I came to Baba. Came in through the 
back door. I spent the whole day at the Center. My heart knew I 
was home, never a question about that, but my mind was churning. 
I hadn't had spiritual experiences like this before, so my mind was 
going, "What is this?!" But every question I had, I got the answer. 
I was aware that my critic, my doubting part, was saying, "I don't 
want to be taken as a fool." I am a Leo, so I have this pride. I didn't 
want to join something and then find out a couple of years down 
the road that this Meher Baba movement was a fraud. I didn't want 
to get involved in anything like that. Even though my heart seeing 
it, my mind was cynical and critical. It was a shift from the mind 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 255 

to the heart. My life for the most part had been head focused. Now, 
for the first time I became heart focused. 

Steven lives in Raleigh with his wife Stephanie. 

Chuck Mays 

Who is this Me her Baba? I asked myself. Was it right to come here, 
to Meherabad? I had these thoughts as the small group gathered at 
Meher Baba's Samadhi for evening arti. "I know the prayers and I 
can sing the songs, but I'm not a Baba Lover," was my mantra. 

Why did I travel all the way to Meherabad from Raleigh, 
North Carolina, in February, 1990? When the journey started, I had 
no idea that I would. In fact, I'm not really sure exactly when the 
journey started because it did not begin with booking airline tickets to 
go to India. It began long before I ever had a thought of Meher Baba. 
Thinking back, I believe my glimpse of the bigger picture started in 
1987. There had been hints earlier, but it was in that year that my 
spiritual longing increased. And it was in that year when I was finally 
able to realize that there was something spiritual, for which I had no 
perception or real knowledge. I had not been taught this 'other truth' 
as a Christian but that did not stop my thirst to find out more. 

In 1987, my wife at that time, Cindy Bizzell, told me that 
I must introduce myself to Martha Buchanan, who had just started 
working at Exide Electronics, where I worked. The connection 
was that Martha was sharing an apartment with Beth, who had 
been Cindy's roommate a Meredith College. As it turned out, 
Martha was filling for an admin person who was on extended leave 
and my normal activity was to visit this department a couple of 
times a week. So I would have met her anyway. 

From the first moment I met Martha, I seemed to have a connec- 
tion with her. She had been studying voice in Germany and had recently 
returned to Raleigh. She had grown up in Pullen Baptist Church where 
Cindy and I attended. So there were several natural connections with 
Martha. Martha is intelligent, charming, talented and beautiful, which 
made it all the easier to strike up a friendship with her. 



256 Finding God In North Carolina 

One day Martha told me that she was going to take a com- 
puter programming course at NC State University. Since I had taken 
this same course, I casually mentioned that I would be happy to 
give her a hand if she needed it. Martha didn't really need my help, 
but she did ask me a few questions from time to time. At the end of 
the course, Martha said that she wanted to buy me dinner as a thank 
you and although I didn't think it was necessary, I accepted. 

I mentioned the invitation to Cindy, who was invited too, 
but she had a conflict and told me to go without her. I felt quite 
uncomfortable having dinner alone with Martha, even though 
there was nothing romantic going on between us. I guess it was 
my Bible-belt upbringing coming out. We had dinner somewhere 
on Hillsborough Street, and at some point in the conversation, we 
realized that we both had an interest in things spiritual. I was 
getting ready to go overseas for three weeks on a work trip and 
Martha offered to lend me a book called The Autobiography of a 
Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda, to read while I was away. 

While on the trip, I couldn't put the book down. I was 
fascinated by the life of this yogi, whose experiences were totally 
different to mine. When I got back to Raleigh, Martha asked me 
what I had thought of the book. I told her I had found it to be an 
eye opener to things that I didn't know existed and for which I 
had no perception. I was fascinated by it. In response, Martha 
said, "If you liked that book, I have another book that you might 
like reading. The book is called Much Silence and it is about a 
man named Meher Baba." She promised to bring me the book at 
church the next Sunday. 

After church, I met Martha at the back door as planned. 
When she handed me Much Silence, she said, "I feel I have to 
tell you that Meher Baba said he had the consciousness of God." 
Immediately the thought popped into my head, and I said to 
Martha, "So what! So did Jesus." I took the book and read it, but 
I had a very hard time with what I read. This man, Meher Baba, 
could not be God. He changed his mind too often! If he were God, 
he would have known everything and so would not have had to 
change his mind. I was impressed that Baba had kept silent for so 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 257 

long. However, I couldn't get beyond his seemingly dysfunctional 
trying of one thing and then another and then something else. So 
before finishing the book, I gave it to Cindy to read. 

Cindy took to Meher Baba like a duck to water. She read 
Much Silence in a day or two and then asked Martha if she had 
more books about Him. Martha's friends, Steven and Stephanie 
Gage, lent us a few books after kindly inviting us to brunch. I 
think they lent us the Discourses and maybe a book or two writ- 
ten by one of Baba's close disciples. I didn't get a chance to read 
them! Cindy hogged them and then we had to give them back. 
Martha also told us about the center in Myrtle Beach and that 
there was a local group that got together to read a book Baba 
had written. This book was God Speaks and the meeting was at 
Michael Kovitz's apartment. I was still interested in Baba so I 
called to find out when the group met and what they discussed. I 
felt I was being interrogated, when I talked to Michael. He wanted 
to know who I was and why I wanted to come to the meeting and 
sounded very cautious about letting just anyone come. There was 
nothing inviting or welcoming about his tone or his questions. 
Michael did tell me when and where the meetings were. When I 
mentioned my uneasiness about going to the meeting, Cindy said 
not to worry about it and that we should go to one meeting just to 
see what they were about. 

So we went to a God Speaks meeting the next Sunday. 
We continued to go to these meeting for about three years. At 
the beginning of each meeting, we said the Parvardigar Prayer 
and The Prayer of Repentance and we sang the Australian and 
American Artis. We sometimes sang the Gujarati Arti, but I 
never quite got the hang of that one. Michael turned out not to 
be as gruff a character as my introduction to him indicated. I 
will always look back on the time of those meetings and going 
to dinner afterwards fondly. 

Often during these meetings, the topic of the Meher Baba 
Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach came up. So after a few months, 
Cindy and I decided to go. We wrote the necessary letters asking 
for a reservation and made our plans to go for a weekend. 



258 Finding God In North Carolina 

We arrived at the Center after dark on a Friday evening 
after driving from Raleigh. We were checked in, shown to our 
room and told that there was a meeting that evening in the Meet- 
ing Place. My cult radar was operating on full power. Were these 
people going to brainwash me? Were they going to ask that I give 
them all of my money? This is funny now, but I was seriously 
skeptical at that time. That weekend we visited Jane Haynes 
and Kitty Davy. I will always hold as a precious memory being 
able to meet Kitty when she was nearly a hundred. Her mind 
was sharp and she was delightful. I also have fond memories of 
meeting Jane. And if I remember correctly, we also had tea at 
Phyllis and Lynn Ott's house, although this may have been on 
the second visit. We visited Baba's house and had a wonderful, 
relaxed weekend. I had liked all of the people I met and left with 
my bank account intact! 

We continued to attend the God Speaks meetings and we 
had the good fortune to meet Aloba when he was in Chapel Hill 
a few months later. Aloba said that we must sing or recite the 
Australian Arti everyday. I thought it was very interesting to meet 
one of Baba's close Indian disciples and was not put off by his 
somewhat dictatorial manner. We heard about Meher Baba's other 
close disciples in India and more and more we were told that we 
must go to India. So one day, we decided we would go. 

With trepidation, I took my vacation leave form to my 
boss, Hermann, to sign. I didn't believe that Hermann was espe- 
cially spiritual in his outlook, but we had never discussed spiritual 
things. Later I realized that Hermann had a spiritual side, like most 
people. I boldly told Hermann that Cindy and I were going to India 
on vacation. Actually, I think I said, "Cindy wants to go to India 
on vacation." I was expecting the worst, which was to be told that 
I could not have two weeks off. My fears were heightened when 
Hermann paused and a strange look overtook his face. I thought, 
here it comes! He is going to say no or worse yet, he will ask, 'Why 
in the world would you want to go to India on vacation? ' To my sur- 
prise, he smiled and said, "There must be some advantage to being 
in the international department. I'll pay your airfare to India and I 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 259 

want you to visit a couple of distributors in New Delhi to find out 
what they are up to." Hermann never did ask why we were going. 

Paying my airfare meant a business class ticket. But, 
instead of getting the business class ticket, I was able to get two 
economy tickets for less money and the company was more than 
happy with this arrangement. We bought a copy of the guide book, 
Welcome Home, A Travel Guidebook for Traveling to Meherabad 
and Meherazad, India and we wrote to Pilgrim Reservations and 
secured our place in the Pilgrim Center. A colleague at work asked 
me to take some papers to his wife who was still in India awaiting 
her US visa. So we stopped in Pune to deliver the documents. After 
a nice visit, my friend's wife and her brother put us in a taxi to 
Ahmednagar. We arrived in the late afternoon and took a rickshaw 
to the Pilgrim Center at Meherabad. 

Later at the appointed time, we went up the Hill to evening 
arti and my mind began to swim with my doubts and questions and 
wondering why I had in fact made this trip. I definitely recognized 
that the path had been greased in the sense that we did not have to 
pay for the airfares and I was still amazed that my boss did not pry 
into my reason for wanting to go to India. But it still seemed sur- 
real to be there and I still had many doubts. 

As people began to line up to enter Baba's tomb to pay their 
respects, I was thinking, I'm a Christian and Christians do not bow 
down to holy men. But as I watched, I was struck at how lovingly 
the people bowed down at the feet of Baba in his Samadhi. I was 
especially struck by the humility of the locals from Arangaon vil- 
lage who had to pay their respects. At one point, the thought entered 
in my head that I had come all this way and what would it hurt to 
pay my respects? So I got in line and waited my turn. I watched 
what the others did so I would know what to do. I didn't realize then 
that there was no 'right' way to pay ones respects as long as it was 
done with love. When my time came, I entered thinking that there 
are so many others waiting, that I must be quick. 

When I bowed down and my forehead touched the base 
on the marble slab, I was instantly aware of concentric circles 
entering or maybe emanating from, my mind's eye and I burst into 



260 Finding God In North Carolina 

tears. I had not cried for years and there was no reason to be cry- 
ing then. When I exited the Samadhi, I was hugged by Nana Kher 
who said to me, unexpectedly, "Welcome home." I sat down and 
tried to make sense of the experience. I don't even remember if 
Cindy paid her respects or not. I only remember a profound sense 
of peace and belonging. 

So, did I find God with that experience in the Samadhi? 
I think not; I already had a sense of God. What happened in the 
Samadhi changed my direction forever and diminished my ques- 
tioning about Meher Baba. It no longer mattered to me if he were 
God or not. In that instant, I recognized Meher Baba as the spiri- 
tual master my heart had been yearning for 

Chuck lives in Raleigh. 



Trudy Robbins 

In 1999, while driving down Hwy 17 in Myrtle Beach with my 
mother, brother Charles, and his wife, Page, and going to a musi- 
cal show; Charles and Page pointed to the entrance of the Meher 
Spiritual Center and told me they thought I would like it there. Since 
Charles and Page were two of the most wonderful people in my life 
who had led me on so many nurturing and enjoyable paths, I pursued 
a visit immediately upon arriving back at home in Raleigh. 

My first visit to the Center was on my birthday, 
September 28, 1999, and I stayed at the Lookout Cabin. Upon 
receiving the Center tour, reading, enjoying nature and feeling 
the intense love Baba was sending me, I quickly became aware 
that Baba was the one to whom I had been led by my brother 
and sister-in-law. The peace and love I felt during my three days 
there made a tremendous difference in my life and even though I 
was unaware of who Meher Baba was when I arrived at the Cen- 
ter, I had never felt so blessed as when I departed. It was simply 
unbelievable but yet so believable and once again I knew why 
Baba had placed my brother, Charles, and Page in my life. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 261 

There are no words to express my love for Baba and my 
appreciation of Him directing me to his "home in the West". 

Trudy lives in Raleigh. 



Glenn Sheffield 

Meher Baba is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, 
the Avatar and God in human form. So where to start with a Baba 
story? But I guess I will start in church, when my parents were 
taking me to the Colonial Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina. 
From ages twelve to fifteen, I had a hard time there when the 
preacher would get up for the sermon every Sunday and he would 
talk about asking Jesus Christ to be your personal saviour. I did 
not feel very comfortable with that. But there was an interesting 
dichotomy in me as my heart really wanted to reach out and feel 
something and then another big part of me felt like the environ- 
ment was not right - the Church didn't feel true, didn't feel right. 

I kind of shut off myself from prayer, but because I didn't 
think that prayer was honest there in the church. Looking back on 
it, it seemed too simple - you say this one prayer and Jesus is going 
to take care of everything. You don't have to do anything and when 
you die you go straight to God and that's it. It just seemed too 
simple a story. 

At age sixteen, music really became my way of connecting 
with things. Guitar music, the blues - listening to black musicians 
from the 1920's. That felt really honest to me. I started listening to 
Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters and Robert Townsend and Stevie 
Ray Vaughan. I guess you could say in a sense that Jimi Hendrix 
saved my life. I was pretty unhappy as a kid and when I first lis- 
tened to Jimi Hendrix I felt that I was being exposed to a soul that 
understood how I felt- the first kinship I really had in my life. The 
music made things bearable. Whenever things have got hard in my 
life, music has always been my relief and my comfort. So, in a lot 
of ways, I relate to God through music. 



262 Finding God In North Carolina 

In 1996, I went to college at UNC Chapel Hill because 
that's what my parents expected me to do. I loved learning and I 
loved reading and trying to understand things, but I didn't feel like 
college was an environment where that was what they wanted you 
to do. It was more like an assembly line of information, gathering 
and memorizing -just an continuation of the educational system. 
I went to college for two years and used it as an excuse to play 
music and read books that I was interested in; and after two years 
I decided it was a waste of my time. 

I decided to go live in the woods near Boone, North 
Carolina, to try to learn how to live in the most simple ways - 
in terms of how I would get my basic needs met if all the gro- 
cery stores shut down. I ended up learning more about people 
than I did about life skills. I lived on a 500 acre environmental 
preserve for ten months. The first time I went back to Raleigh 
after three months there, after my only exposure had been to 
sunlight, moonlight, starlight, drinking water straight from the 
mountain and working 15-20 hour days, it felt so dead - from 
the air to the lighting to everything. It was like going from a 
happy, healthy home to a hospital where people are dying. 

The first night home, I had to sleep outside on the grass 
because I couldn't take it being inside. So the experience in 
the woods really opened up my being again to life because I 
had been shut down from lots of years of education, working 
in a hardware store, lots of fluorescent lights and not much 
exposure to clean air. 

Then I started traveling on my motorcycle, trading my 
music for a place to stay. It was a book called Ishmael that caused 
me to decide to leave what I had grown up in and try to live in a 
different way. Another book, The Celestine Prophecy, led me to 
follow the synchronicity that was happening in my life. I realized 
I could get my basic needs and do what I love, which was to play 
music and write songs, and not have to live in the boundaries 
of having a job and working forty hours a week. Then after you 
spend all that energy, how much time do you have to do what you 
really love? 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 263 

Just before I had started traveling, I got introduced to a 
healing modality called Reiki and that opened me up to the feel- 
ing of connection with love and not labeling God as this or as 
that, but just being able to connect with unconditional love. And 
that opened up my heart. It was a positive force in my life and it 
helped me to look at the world in a different way. Then when I 
was traveling, it led me to connecting with people in Texas who 
were practicing Native American ceremonies like the sweat lodge 
and the vision quest. 

After about three years of traveling on the motorcycle, 
I returned to Raleigh and met a guy, Gil Alvarado, at my Reiki 
teacher's Christmas party. I looked in Gil's eyes and saw some- 
thing that I had also seen in the eyes of a friend of mine, Shamayah, 
who I'd met at a Native American ceremony (the name Shamayah 
means 'God has heard us.'). I knew by looking in Gil's eyes, as 
I had when I looked in Shamayah's eyes, that he knew what love 
was and knew that he would be my friend. Gil was the first person to 
tell me about Meher Baba. And actually my Reiki teacher, Vicki 
Penninger, had a picture of Meher Baba on her refrigerator. The 
picture had the words, "The Divine Beloved is always with you, 
around you and near you." 

So Gil told me the Meher Spiritual Center existed. I went 
back to Texas to participate in a vision quest. I was preparing for 
the vision quest by making my prayers and fasting. Then I had 
a dream in which I was at the Meher Spiritual Center in South 
Carolina. I woke up from the dream feeling really happy. I could 
feel a presence in the dream that could see me and was at the 
periphery of my vision. Trusting my intuition, I decided that I 
would check out the Meher Spiritual Center when I was back on 
the East Coast. 

I went to the Center about 2 l A years ago (about 2004) and 
it was one of the times that Bhau Khalchuri was there. I only went 
for the afternoon because the Center was full. I went back a couple 
months later for about four days. When there, I suddenly did a 1 80 
from my negative feelings about marriage and having kids to feel- 
ing very open to it. I think it was because I was in a place for the 



264 Finding God In North Carolina 

first time in my life where I felt it was ok to love. It felt great to be 
in an environment where love was the expectation as opposed to 
being out of the norm. 

Glenn grew up in Raleigh and now lives in Durham. 



Craig and Louise Smith 

Craig: In the Spring of 1967, my wife, my daughter and I were liv- 
ing in Raleigh because I was a grad student at North Carolina State 
University there. We had connections with the 'hippie' community 
and met several people, including Don Fusey and Jim Lee and who 
ended up introducing us to Baba. Don had access to LSD from 
people whom he knew in Chapel Hill who were also Baba people. 
He got me some of it. I took a 250 microgram trip and it was very 
nice. It was the only acid trip I ever took. 

Our other friend, Jim Lee, was going to talks on Eastern 
Mysticism in Chapel Hill by Jean Barnard, and from him, we also got 
information about Meher Baba. He also told us about the Center. 

There was this guy, Jim Smith, a poet, who was a friend 
of Nancy Sasser who lived in Chapel Hill. He was also going to 
the talks by Jean Bernard. Jim was interested in my wife, Louise. 
Because of her involvement with him, we went out to his cabin 
outside of Raleigh. He had some mescaline and was going to give 
half to me and half to Louise. But I said, "No," so Louise could 
take the whole trip. She did the mescaline and I stayed in the cabin 
staring at this Universal Message which Nancy had given to Jim. 
I was a little weirded out because it said, "I have no precepts", 
which seemed to contradict itself. But I was willing to have an 
open mind. 

Then, in August, I got a job at UNC Chapel Hill in the 
Medical School in the Physiology Department because I had just 
got a masters in Physiology. We moved to Carrboro in September. 
One day Don Fusey came to our house to tell us that there was 
another talk by Rick Chapman at UNC. He had given the first one 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 265 

in May. So we went to that talk and I was very impressed. As the 
audience was leaving I tried to pick up these two women, Libby 
Appley, the daughter of Ralph and Stella Hernandez who had met 
Baba in 1958 in Myrtle Beach, and Barbara Gunn. 

Then Barbara invited my wife and I to her house. They 
had also invited Rick Chapman as well as quite a few of the new 
Baba lovers in town. I posed a question to Rick Chapman: "What 
about this guy Baba? Does he work?!" Rick said, "He does have 
a job and that is His universal work of bringing love and truth to 
the world." After that, we were invited back to the Gunns' house 
quite a bit. They gave us the Discourses, God Speaks and the / am 
the Ancient One poster. I would read God Speaks and think, Either 
this is the ravings of a lunatic or this is really God speaking. My 
attitude was kind of flip. 

One day in late September, I was alone in the house read- 
ing the sayings of Baba on the back of the I Am the Ancient One 
poster. I read one of the sayings which said, "If you put your lips 
together and make a sound, mmm, that's the Om sound." So I said, 
"What the hell, I'll try that." I did it and suddenly my whole mood 
changed. It was if something deep within me welled up and I started 
to cry. It was, I think, from many past lives of having been a seeker 
looking for God. It wiped away that supercilious attitude I had and 
knocked me flat. That was really my coming to Baba experience. 

Louise: Craig and I married quite young right out of col- 
lege, and I had a baby right away. By the time I heard about Baba, 
Craig was in graduate school and I was the breadwinner. It was 
the 60's and Craig just thought that was fabulous. I thought, Holy 
shit! What's he getting me into now?\ And when Baba came along 
in 1967, I thought, Oh crap. What now?! We had very different 
frames of mind. 

Around that time, we camped out with some of Craig's 
friends on Smith Island off the Carolina coast. I was so desperate 
with the life we were living and the contradictions, I took off from 
where Craig and his friends were sleeping on the beach and I took a 
long, long walk. Deep in my heart I asked the question, "What the 
hell is going on?! What is the purpose of life?" I asked the essential 



266 Finding God In North Carolina 

question, "Is there any meaning to it?" I saw this beautiful shell and 
I picked it up and I was enveloped in Love. The answer was more or 
less, "Yes, there is some purpose." It was a beautiful feeling. Craig 
said, "You know there are a couple of old ladies living just about 
50 miles north of here that run this spiritual center. Let's go see it." 
And I thought, Oh hell. Another one of Craig's crazy things. We 're 
going to barge in on these two old ladies. So I said, No way!" 

We then moved to Carrboro in September, 1 967, and shortly 
thereafter took our first trip to the Center. I was still worried about 
all these people (who might not be too sane). We went to the beach 
and little Chris Ott came up to us and said, "I have something to 
show you." He had written in the sand, "I love Baba. Do you?" I 
said, "Well, I don't know." We went back to the Near Cabin and 
then saw Phyllis Ott who said, "Mrs. Smith, your daughter called 
my daughter a liar!" So, I had to deal with that for awhile. It was 
my first meeting with Phyllis and I love her dearly. 

My real moment came on Route 17. In those days there 
was nothing on that road near the Center and to get gas we had 
to go into Myrtle Beach. We had dinner at Mammy's Kitchen 
and then headed north on 1 7 back to the Center. Suddenly I heard 
words appear in my brain, "I am your real Lover." I looked up 
and we were in front of the Center. I again got the feeling of being 
wrapped in Love. The first time had been on the beach at Smith's 
Island. I had this wonderful feeling of assurance, love and peace. I 
knew that I had to keep REAL quiet about it. I just held onto it tight 
and thought, We '11 see what happens with this. 

Then we went back home to Chapel Hill and I continued 
reading about Baba. The more I read the Discourses, the more I 
said, "Oh my God! This is the truth!" I was so happy to find it, an 
explanation of why we are here. I loved it. But I was still thinking, 
This Baba says he 's God. C 'mon, this is a little far out! Logically I 
thought, Would someone who knows the Truth lie to me? And that's 
how I kind of tumbled into Baba's arms. 

Louise and Craig lived in Raleigh and Chapel Hill in 1967-8, 
and now live in Myrtle Beach. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 267 



Randy Wasserstrom 

In January, 1969, 1 was a senior in high school in Columbus, Ohio. 
I was assigned to be a hall monitor, which meant I had to sit in the 
hall and 'monitor' people as they walked by. While sitting at my 
little desk in the hall, I decided to write short stories to pass the 
time. I had never done this before, but for some reason it seemed 
like a good idea at the time! When I wrote them, I attributed noth- 
ing to them except as interesting little stories. That they would have 
deeper significance did not occur to me. I had never heard of Meher 
Baba or of any Eastern gurus. But on February 3, 1969 (four days 
after Baba dropped His body), I wrote the following story: 

Winston Abraham Moses Roosevelt Lincoln Socrates 
Shakespeare Washington 

Before learning to spell, most young children must first 
walk, talk and understand words. They must follow the rules God 
set up for human growth and maturation. But the story is different 
with Winston Abraham. From the unknown outset of his life, he 
has rocketed away from the eternal scheme. Manhood, boyhood, 
infancy, old age, birth, death intertwined in no humanly compre- 
hensible order, he is as changeable as the weather but as change- 
less as the stars. He never speaks a word in any language except 
the universal language of silence. By simply gazing at him, the 
on-looker understands his unspoken words. 

In concrete terms, Winston certainly appears to be a human 
being although he never remains at a certain stage of life for Gods 
required number of years. Meeting him is - to be ridiculously mild - 
unforgettable, unfathomable, stimulating, exciting and refreshing. 
How does he do this? The answer, in brevity, is that he somehow 
draws people away from pettiness, drudgery, and banality. He 
elevates them to an apex of spiritual and emotional fulfillment. 

Now is the most astounding, fantastic, unbelievable, 
tremendous part of this being: his parents were no persons of 
opposite sex, they were the combinations of the greatest people to 



268 Finding God In North Carolina 

live on earth at the greatest moments of their lives. Every possible 
Godly virtue is personified in him. It can 't be, but it is -He's THE 
MESSIAH 

With this realization of perfection, I end my story in bliss, 
confident that universal unity will finally be reached! History 
will remember my planet, Thorax, as the originating spot of the 
Messiah; but tomorrow, pride will be a forgotten commodity in 
the yesterdays of God's creations. (Note: thorax is the cavity in 
which the heart lies.) 

I wrote this story oblivious to the fact that the Avatar had 
dropped His body on January 31st! In fact, I attributed no special 
significance to the story at all! I simply kept it with my other sto- 
ries for many years, only to rediscover it in 1987. I did not hear 
about Meher Baba until 1980. 

I had just returned from a trip to Spain in April, 1980, and 
was then living in Raleigh, North Carolina. On one beautiful spring 
day, a friend of mine, Steven Gage, stopped by and asked me if I'd 
like to take a walk down to a nearby park. I said, "Yes." The park 
is called the Park of Roses and is located amidst a tree-lined street 
and many beautiful roses. The place is so beautiful that many peo- 
ple come to be married there. Steve and I sat down in this park and 
he told me about Baba. We had known each other for about seven 
months, but he decided that now was the best time to tell me. 

I trusted Steve so implicitly that I knew what he told me 
must be true. But it was not a 'lightning bolt\ just a "knowing" 
that would develop more deeply in the succeeding years. Steve 
took me to a Baba meeting in 1982, and then he went to India 
for the first time that same year. I closely followed his trip and it 
seemed to deeply impact me as well. 

In November, 1982, 1 had a Baba dream: 

/ am in an outdoor courtyard that is surrounded by a 
fence. I see Baba in the courtyard sitting on a high chair with two 
mandali (disciples) men standing next to him. Baba motions to 
me to come stand in front of him. I do so and then he motions me 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 269 

to stand outside the fence. Then he again motions me to stand in 
front of him. I do so again. This is the end of the dream; but as it 
ends, a phrase comes to me: "Touch the inner and the outer, do 
not strain. 

It occurred to me that what Baba had me do in the dream 
was act out this phrase by standing near him in the inner court- 
yard and then standing outside the fence (the outer). In some way 
this phrase also seem to symbolize my whole life, as I had always 
'strained' to live both an 'inner' and 'outer' life. 

In February, 1 984, I went to the Meher Spiritual Center in 
Myrtle Beach for the first time. I realized that the 'courtyard' where 
I had seen Baba in my dream was the enclosure outside Baba's 
house!! In the spring of 1987, I moved to a new apartment in 
Raleigh. It was then that I rediscovered my Baba story from 1969. 
Eighteen years had gone by, but I now found the story in one of the 
boxes after moving. I was amazed at the grace of Baba to allow me 
to have this experience at just the right time. That grace continued 
when I went to India in November, 1987, for the first time. 

Randy lives in Cary, a part of Raleigh. 



Rosman 



Gilbert Webb 

I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina not too far from the Center. 
We went to Myrtle Beach on weekends and I am sure we were 
down there when Baba was there in 1956 and 1958. But I never 
met Him in the body. I've always felt sorry about that and wished 
I could have. 

When I was about nine years old in the summertime, I had 
an experience in my bedroom. It was a warm, almost golden feel- 
ing that came over me and pervaded the room. A still quiet voice 
within started speaking to me and it said, "You will come to a great 
master who won't be Jesus this time." I saw a room, which later 
appeared to be the one in the Lagoon Cabin, from which this voice 
seemed to come. 

My mother and grandmother were quite metaphysical. My 
mom read things from the Unity Church. Mom and dad used to 
have little meetings where people meditated. They would pray for 
each other, for healing. So they were searching all along and didn't 
believe exactly like everyone else at that time. 

Off and on I had experiences like the sky was expanding. It 
was really an expansion of consciousness. I really felt the presence 



272 Finding God In North Carolina 

of God. It was a real presence, and huge - all pervading and mag- 
nificent. And I would experience it more at different times. It wasn't 
continuous, but just like a little glance now and then. 

In the late Sixties, I moved to Myrtle Beach. I didn't know 
anything about Baba and didn't find out about Baba until the Sev- 
enties. I was going to the tech school in Conway. But I started get- 
ting blissed out. I didn't know what it was. I had some dreams in 
which I felt like I was in India or somewhere, kind of like a mast. 
I dreamed of a little small house and a fence which turned out to 
be the Gateway at the Meher Spiritual Center. Some years later, 
I saw a picture of Baba in a New Age magazine at an alternative 
bookstore in Columbia. I felt like I was looking at myself. There 
was an instant recognition. 

So I drove down to Myrtle Beach. I called the Chamber of 
Commerce and asked where the Meher Baba Center was. Nobody 
knew. But I made it there eventually in my little Volkswagen. I 
wasn't sure it would make it as the alternator was acting up. The 
first person I met was Jane. When I met her I felt like I'd met Ingrid 
Bergman. She sent me over to meet Kitty and then I went into the 
Center. It was an experience but it wasn't like the BIG experience 
yet to come. 

Sometime later, I did some traveling and came back and 
had a series of experiences in which I had an incredible blissful 
feeling. I would just sit in my room and kind of space out. I was 
living at my parents' home in Columbia at the time and they asked 
me if I had been hypnotized at the Meher Center. They later vis- 
ited the Center and loved the atmosphere and beauty. My dad was 
pretty much an agnostic until he died. Once, sometime before he 
passed, he said, "I think ole Baba was greater than Jesus." He also 
said to my mom, "I wish Gil would just stick to Baba and not see 
any other masters." 

Another time I was staying in the Carriage House and I 
woke up in the middle of the night. There was this being with a 
big mustache over me with his hands on my chest. It seemed to be 
an astral experience. He had kind eyes and I believe it was Baba. 
It startled me! Then he just faded out, smiling. The next morning I 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 273 

got up and went down to the Original Kitchen and I had a message 
that my grandfather had died the night before. My granddad was 
quite a character. He tended to binge drink and could get pretty 
nasty. On those occasions, I didn't like him a whole lot. When 
I went to his funeral, I didn't feel anything negative or positive 
toward him; my consciousness was completely clear. 

Over the years, never for even half a day have I been able to 
forget Baba. He's in my consciousness. I never did go to the tomb 
in India, but Baba always found someway to come back in my life. 
I had quite a few good conversations with Kitty. I would go to the 
Center and hoped no one would know I was there, especially Kitty. 
I wanted to space out, meditate and pretend I was some kind of 
celibate sadhu or something. I liked that, I liked to bliss out on the 
Center's atmosphere. 

Suddenly someone would give me the message that Kitty 
wants to see you and I would think, Oh no. I don 't want to see her. 
Kitty would ask me about my career and whether I knew any nice 
girls I could marry (laughter). She would say, "You mustn't do all 
this meditation and read all these spiritual books. You don't need 
to do that. You'll become unbalanced and act like some of these 
mast people. She also told me, "It's pure consciousness. Always 
remember this." 

At the time I was working at a health food store and my 
manager, a gorgeous woman, had visited the Center too. I heard 
through the grapevine that Kitty told her to take care of me or 
to look out for me because of my mind. At work my beautiful 
manager would say, "You're trying to act like Ramakrishna again, 
STOP IT." I would give anything in the world to have a conversa- 
tion with Kitty now. 

At that time, and even now, I just feel elevated the all time. 
I got really interested in the masts and then I read an article about 
people with autism. I thought, These people seem to be like the 
masts. Maybe Baba wants me to work with them. Kitty had told me, 
"You will do Baba's work." I got a job working in a group home for 
adults who had autism. When I would go into work, I would feel 
this presence enfold me. My superiors would comment that they 



274 Finding God In North Carolina 

could not understand how I could work so well with these folks 
who were often aggressive and challenging with no formal educa- 
tion or experience in the field. I worked for over twenty years in 
this field and became a sort of hands-on consultant statewide even 
without a university degree. I'm sure it was Baba who made my 
efforts effective. 

I've met at least a few very advanced teachers and spiritual 
masters but it is always Baba who reels me back in, puts me to 
work, with my heart open, my head in the clouds and my feet on the 
ground. I really don't have a clue. Baba is the man, the God-Man, 
and I suspect a lot more than even that. 

Gil lives in Rosman. 



Wake Forest 



Maureen Meehan 

I survived twelve years of Catholic School in Queens, New York. 
The turning point of my life was going to Queens College. My 
father, if he was still alive, would say that made me into an athe- 
ist. As soon as I went to Queens College, I met people from all 
over the world. It was very different from the pretty much Sicilian 
neighborhood where I grew up. This was 1972. 

The first time I ever heard Baba's name was when I went 
to a concert in Central Park. I believe it was Melanie and for some 
reason she did it on July 1 Oth. My friends and I met a man who was 
keeping silence that day. One of my friends knew that the reason 
he was keeping silence was that it was Silence Day and Meher 
Baba inspired people to do this. 

In 1973, 1 started working as part of a work-study program 
to earn some extra credits towards my degree in community health 
counseling. I worked at a hotline and was coordinator of referrals 
for the troubled people who would come to the hotline for advice. 
We would refer them to social workers, medical doctors, anybody 
we could to help those people. I was originally sent there as part of 
a project for my major. 



276 Finding God In North Carolina 

Half of the group of counselors was made up of psych 
majors who believed you could cure everything through drugs or 
behavior modification. The other half was made up of Baba lovers 
who believed you could cure everything through love. I was very 
drawn to the Baba people who were kind, open and more loving 
than the general person I saw in that capacity as counselor. A lot of 
people I saw in the Psych department felt that they were pretty self 
important. The Baba people didn't seem that way. 

During the first time I came to Myrtle Beach in the mid 70's, 
the first experience I had in the ocean was feeling very powerfully 
right down to the core of my being, what that phrase meant when 
Baba said, "I am the Ocean of Love." 

Maureen lives in Wake Forest. 



Wilmington 



Barry Alpert 

I have always felt that Baba made it very easy for me to reconnect 
with Him this lifetime, especially being born in Wilmington, North 
Carolina. My story is always in progress as my life with Baba 
seems to always be a subtle surprise, if that's possible, especially 
in retrospect! I just feel so fortunate to be born into a loving family 
that helped to prepare me for my easy acceptance of the Ancient 
One! With this in mind, it has helped me to embrace whatever life 
has given me without always trying to figure out why. 

My first recollection of hearing about Baba dates back to 
1967, when a friend, Joseph Funderburg, a neighbor, friend and 
fellow hippie/freak, told me that a guru from India was going to 
break his silence after many years on TV via cable link from India 
to a place in Myrtle Beach. I was not given the 'guru's' name, but 
I was invited to go along with my friend to attend this 'silence 
breaking'. However this being the 60 's, my friend was known to 
have taken lots of LSD, therefore I discounted his story and didn't 
go with him. 

Joseph had heard about Meher Baba from Bob Brown 
who was attending Wilmington College, now UNCW. I, too, was 



278 Finding God In North Carolina 

going to this school, but don't remember meeting Bob at that time. 
Joe was quite secretive about discussing Meher Baba, but did say 
many wonderful things about this Center located on the ocean 
and a lake. He told us that turtles and alligators came up to you 
by the lake, and that none of the wildlife were killed or harmed. 
He told us that there were little cabins located in the woods that 
only cost about $2 a night, also that no drugs or alcohol were 
permitted, nor did unmarried couples stay together. After hearing 
about Joe's trips to the Center, he promised to take our circle for 
a weekend. 

It wasn't until April, 1969, that I finally made it to the 
Meher Spiritual Center. That was the beginning of the end. 

My first trip to India was in 1971, coming overland from 
Europe, thus passing through Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan 
and Pakistan. When I crossed the border from Pakistan to India, I 
had an overwhelming feeling of being home again. 

Barry was raised in Wilmingon and lived for many years 
there. He now resides in Thailand. 

Rick Berman 

I was working in my father's jewelery store in Wilmington in 
1968. My lifelong family friends were Carol and Barry Alpert who 
would later become Baba lovers. Our fathers had businesses caddy 
corner across the street from each other in downtown Wilmington 
at Front and Market Streets. The Alperts had a clothing store and 
my dad had a jewelry store. They knew each other before any of 
us kids were born. They knew each other in the 1940's and went to 
the same synagogue. 

I was married to Ethel Vigodsky from Greenville that same 
year. We heard about this guy, John Nygren, who had recently come 
to UNC Wilmington and started the Ceramics program. Several of 
our friends were taking his classes so Ethel and I took a Monday 
night class from him just for fun and I really got into it. I've been 
a potter now for almost 40 years. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 279 

One of the guys in the Monday night class was a guy named 
Joe Funderburg. He lived on Wrightsville Beach and his family 
also had a house in town. I knew him my whole life. He was a 
really psychedelic character. He was very cool so we all loved him. 
He was really playful, and he was branching out, going to Chapel 
Hill. To go to Chapel Hill in those days was like going to Paris. It 
was the most cultured place any of us had ever been. We wouldn't 
even get hit songs until about three months after they came out. 
We were way off the beaten track. Wilmington was and still is to 
a certain extent very isolated which is probably why it is a such a 
charming place. 

Joe had heard about this Baba Center in Myrtle Beach. 
He went there and met Kitty and she took him in. He was really 
attracted to her and vice versa. She gave him the 'key to the gate' 
so to speak. He came back and brought some books including the 
Discourses, which we read. In Wilmington people thought the 
Meher Spiritual Center was a nudist colony. 

Ethel went to Wrightsville Beach one afternoon to visit our 
friend Rita Simon, a real cosmic hippie who had lived in New York 
City, married a musician, David Silver, and had a baby. She was 
like someone out of a movie of hippies. She was on another planet. 
My wife walked up to the porch to Rita's house and on the porch 
was Bob Brown. 

Bob had come to Wilmington College from somewhere in 
Pennsylvania, if I remember correctly. He had heard about Baba, 
had been to the Center and was on fire! He was like a mast! Ajalali 
mast. He would tell everybody about Baba. He told Ethel about 
Baba and she was so amazed by him that she brought him to our 
apartment in Wilmington for me to meet when I got home from my 
Army Reserve meeting. 

He told us his story of being in college in Pennsylvania, 
where he almost got busted, ducked in the bushes and escaped. He 
figured Baba saved him from going to jail. He was so dramatic! 
He was on fire. 

In August 1969, right after Woodstock, we moved to 
Atlanta. Ethel was going to Emory and I was going to Georgia 



280 Finding God In North Carolina 

State. She saw a sign for a Young Socialist meeting which was in 
the Alumni Memorial Building (Avatar Meher Baba). She went 
to a room in the building, walked in and saw a group of people 
eating ice cream and cake. She asked, "Is this the Young Socialist 
meeting? They said. "No this is the Meher Baba meeting. " She 
said. "Oh. I've read Baba"s books. I've read the Discourses." They 
all just nipped out! They were amazed by it. Nobody in the world 
would have heard of Baba. It was Charles Haynes, John Lighter 
and others. John was Charles* roommate and Charles was President 
of the Student Body. She came home and told me she had gone to 
the Baba meeting by mistake. She asked. "Do you want to go to a 
meeting next week?" And I said. "Yes." 

We went to the meeting the following week and Charles 
was talking about his experiences with Baba. I was totally fasci- 
nated with Charles. I had never met anyone like him. I couldn't 
explain it. but I knew he had what I'd always wanted. We came 
home and Ethel asked me what I thought of the meeting. I told 
her that I was amazed by Charles. She said. "You know who they 
think Baba is. don't you?" I said. "No." She said. "Well they think 
He is God." I said. "I'm sure he is a nice guy. but that's ridicu- 
lous." Within a week or two. I was given the realization that Baba 
was who He said He was. One God. One Religion, One Truth for 
the entire Universe, and a Game that everyone eventually wins. 
So simple. 

Rick was bom and grew up in Wilmington. He now lives 
in Atlanta. Georgia. 

Carol Gunn 

As I reflect back on my life I see clues of Meher Baba's guidance 
and love long before I was consciously aware of him. 

I was born in Wilmington. North Carolina in 1944. 
Wilmington, other than being a coastal port city and hub for the 
Atlantic coastline railway, was a fairly provincial and sleepy place. 
Nonetheless it had an airport through which Baba passed on two 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 281 

trips to the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach in 1956 and 
1958. 1 like to think that Baba drove past my father's clothing store 
in downtown Wilmington on His way to the Center. 

I was raised in the Jewish faith by loving parents. While 
attending services at our local synagogue, I would try to connect in 
some way with the God we would read about in the prayer books or 
hear about in services. However, this God of the Hebrews seemed 
rather inaccessible and remote. I mostly enjoyed the social aspects 
and camaraderie of being at the synagogue and of being a member 
of the larger Jewish community. 

As a child I was intrigued by one part of the Jewish Seder 
meal at Passover time. A special wine glass would be set at the 
table for Elijah the prophet. Later someone would go to the door 
to see if Elijah had arrived at our house. It was my understanding 
that Elijah would bring news that the Messiah had come. I always 
hoped that Elijah would be at the door and was disappointed each 
Passover when he did not come to our house. 

In the early 60's I went to college at the University of North 
Carolina in Chapel Hill. I found the town most beautiful. It had a 
vibrant and uplifting energy which at the time I attributed to the 
newness of being on my own and going to college. Years later 
I learned that Baba had a connection with Chapel Hill: He had 
passed through on His way from Myrtle Beach to Durham's Duke 
Hospital to have His leg cast changed after His automobile acci- 
dent in Oklahoma in 1952. He had also directed Najoo Kotwal, 
one of His close followers, to attend graduate school at UNC in 
the late 1950's. 

I loved walking in the historic neighborhoods and wood- 
lands near campus. At one favorite spot on a wooded bluff, I 
would reflect on the nature of the universe and wonder about the 
creation and the Creator. I wondered where the winding road I 
could see in the distance would lead me. These reflections were 
one main link with the spiritual side of life. Also, I had always 
felt uplifted by the beauty of music. Now, as a music major at 
college, I could continue my enjoyment of playing the piano and 
listening to music. 



282 Finding God In North Carolina 

After two years at UNC, with some regrets, I left Chapel 
Hill. I transferred to the University of Georgia in Athens in order 
to be closer to a fellow from Atlanta whom I had been dating. 
David and I had met on a blind date when his family came for 
a family reunion in Wilmington. We married in 1966 after I 
graduated from college. 

Although we were both Jewish, neither of us felt a strong 
urge to attend synagogue services or to seek some deeper spiritual 
meaning through Judaism. I did enjoy celebrating the beginning 
of the Sabbath on Friday nights: I would fix a special meal and we 
would say the traditional Sabbath prayers. At some point I became 
interested in learning more about the mystical aspects of Judaism, 
but the books I read were hard to understand so I didn't get too far 
with this pursuit. 

When our son, Dean, was born in 1970 I felt exhila- 
rated to be a mother and to experience the miracle of birth. I can 
remember viewing the world around me with more awareness 
and appreciation. I felt as though I was high on life. However, 
there were challenges as well which began to impact my physical 
and mental health. 

My physical health was good prior to and after giving 
birth; however I gradually became more and more exhausted 
with the routine of being up with Dean several times during the 
night. During the day I might sleep briefly, but mainly took care 
of household duties. As a new parent somewhat on cloud nine, 
I wasn't aware that maintaining this schedule would have some 
repercussions. 

In the meantime, David was under tremendous pressure 
working six long days a week as the owner of an independent gro- 
cery store. The grocery store was losing money and his business 
partner had accused him of stealing the profits. Later we would 
learn that profits were being drained as a result of employee and 
customer thefts. David was so immersed in the events at the store 
that he could lend little support to me while at home. Because of 
mothering responsibilities, I couldn't be as supportive of him, 
whereas in the past I had helped David at his store and been a 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 283 

listening ear for business problems. These issues caused some 
arguments and marital tensions. 

Eventually the physical, marital and other stresses of being 
a new mother had an impact on my mental health. Later I would 
learn that there was a post partum hormonal imbalance component 
complicating matters as well. In my distress, I began to turn to 
the inner voice of intuition to help me face the challenges I was 
experiencing. I thought of this inner voice as some kind of outside 
guidance from a benevolent source. This source never prompted 
me to do 'bad' things, but I did have some irrational thoughts. 

The most special experience I had as I opened to a more 
intuitive way of thinking was that I began to experience for the 
first time that God was very present in all of our lives. God was 
not the distant, seemingly inaccessible God of my youth. I couldn't 
believe that something so obvious had eluded me in the past and I 
took comfort in this knowledge. 

I tried sharing some of my inner life with my husband and 
parents. At some point they became concerned about some of my 
irrational ideas, mixed in with the talk about God. They suggested 
that it might be helpful for me to talk to a psychiatrist. I agreed 
even though I didn't believe that there was any major problem. 

The psychiatrist offered no validation of the spiritual awak- 
ening I described. Instead He suggested immediate drug therapy or 
hospitalization. I was extremely distressed with the thought that I 
might have to leave my new baby so I agreed to the heavy-duty 
medication. The combination of the drugs and professional opin- 
ion that I needed help brought my world crashing down. I became 
confused and felt that I could not trust myself anymore. In addi- 
tion, the drugs made me feel weird and masked my feelings of love 
and other emotions. I became depressed, and eventually became 
afraid of opening to the God force in my life because it seemed to 
have gotten me in a mess. I wasn't very happy with this God who 
seemed to be causing me so much suffering and who had seem- 
ingly abandoned me. 

In the midst of this inner turmoil, I was given some sup- 
port for the newly experienced spiritual aspects of finding God 



284 Finding God In North Carolina 

in my everyday life. My brother Barry, who had become inter- 
ested in Meher Baba in the late sixties after visiting the Meher 
Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, came to visit shortly after Dean 
was born. While visiting he gave me a Baba card which I placed 
on my refrigerator. I don't remember him saying much about Baba 
and I didn't make a connection between Baba and God. However, 
after he returned to upstate New York where he was working at 
the Brown's Hotel, he wrote me a most beautiful letter that offered 
some hope in the midst of my troubled times. In the letter he men- 
tioned Baba and some of the insights about life that he was gaining 
through his relationship with Him. Here are a few excerpts from 
that letter: 

One must realize that there is someone who loves you more 
than anyone else could ever love you. Love is the answer. Love 
from friends, family and from that Someone. Although I miss you, 
I'm with you always as is that certain force, whatever it is to you 
- to me it s Baba — so 'Don 't worry be happy '. This phase too will 
pass and you may look back and laugh and yet understand yourself 
and those around you better. 

Rick Berman, a childhood friend from Wilmington who was 
now living in Atlanta, and his wife Ethel, were a source of solace 
during my depression. Rick and I were able to talk about having 
a personal relationship with God which he had experienced also. 
Being able to share some of my experience with him was very help- 
ful. Ethel stopped by at the end of some of my long days of caring for 
a new baby when I wasn't feeling well. Rick and Ethel were Baba 
followers, but did not say much to me about Baba at that time. 

Gradually I got better and the drug therapy was discontin- 
ued. As things became more normal for me in the worldly sense, 
I turned to God less and less. I was fearful of 'going off the deep 
end' again if I continued a more personal relationship with God. I 
focused instead on my responsibilities as a wife and mother. 

About four years passed. While on a visit with my family 
at their home in Wrightsville Beach, my brother Barry showed me 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 285 

the book Be Here Now by Dr. Richard Alpert also known as Baba 
Ram Dass. I was intrigued initially because Alpert is my maiden 
name. In the book, Ram Dass shares his spiritual journey with the 
spiritual use of psychedelics to a life in which he embraces a guru 
and Eastern mysticism. He also had a connection with Meher Baba 
and quotes some of His words in the book. The part of the book 
that really caught my attention was an explanation that through a 
profound event, such as bearing a child, one may touch a place that 
has intuitive validity of a higher consciousness. Ram Dass explains 
that such an experience is powerful and valid, but is so discontinu- 
ous with one's normal consciousness that the person may doubt its 
validity. The conventional view of such an experience is that it is 
psychotic. 

After reading this information, I felt a tremendous sense of 
relief to find some support for the type of experience I had after 
Dean's birth. This explanation opened that part of myself that had 
shut the door on anything outside of my usual rational experience 
including Meher Baba. Feeling excited, I told my brother, Barry, 
what I had read. He suggested that we could take a day trip to 
the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, about an hour drive 
from Wilmington. Although I was not sure what I might find at the 
Center, I felt eager to learn more about Baba. 

The Center was quite different from what I expected. I 
pictured formal buildings and people who were obviously devout 
or other-worldly. To my relief I saw a beautiful rustic setting and 
rather normal looking people. Barry gave me a tour and introduced 
me to Marion Saffo, a high school friend of his. Our conversation 
with Marion helped me to relax further as I still wasn't sure about 
these "Baba people." Marion suggested that to learn more about 
Baba, I might want to read the book Avatar, by Jean Adriel. 

It was customary for newcomers to meet one of the ladies 
who helped run the Center. We met with Jane Haynes, who was 
at the Center beach with a group of children taking part in Happy 
Club activities. Jane, who had met Baba in the 1950's, made me 
feel very welcome. I told her about myself and she shared about 
her life with Baba. Jane suggested that upon my return home to 



286 Finding God In North Carolina 

Atlanta, that I contact her son, Charles, who helped organize Baba 
meetings there. It was helpful that neither Jane nor Barry made 
me feel pressured to rush into a relationship with Meher Baba. I 
needed time to observe and learn more. 

After returning home to Atlanta, I began to observe an inner 
subtle change in myself which is hard to put into words. The clos- 
est I can come to describing these changes is that I was awakening 
to other aspects of myself and the world around me. Eventually my 
curiosity to know more about Baba helped me overcome my shy- 
ness about calling Charles. I began to attend some Baba meetings 
which were held at Emory University, including an entertaining 
Baba birthday party open to the public at which I played the piano 
for some of the performers. 

At first I felt like an outsider at the meetings and was still 
reserving judgment about Baba. However, little by little, in various 
ways, Baba drew me closer. At the Atlanta Baba meetings I loved 
hearing Charles talk about his personal experiences of being with 
Baba. In addition there were many fine musicians in the group who 
shared Baba songs which opened my heart. I learned more about 
Baba in Jean Adriel's book, Avatar, and experienced Baba's author- 
ity and clarity as I read His Discourses. I also visited the Baba 
Center again on my own where I heard wonderful heart-opening 
talks by Darwin Shaw, Lyn and Phyllis Ott, Henry Kashouty and 
others. I also met Kitty Davy and Elizabeth Patterson, long-time 
disciples of Baba, who were in charge of the Center. 

When I was first getting acquainted with Baba, I had a hard 
time accepting that He is the Christ or Avatar, the manifestation of 
God in human form. Because of my Jewish background I hadn't 
been introduced to the idea of having a relationship with Christ. 
The concept of God taking a human form was beyond my mind's 
ability to understand. However, as my heart opened more to Baba's 
Love, I no longer needed my mind to understand. Furthermore, 
everything that I learned about Baba validated my mind's scrutiny 
and reinforced my heart connection with Him. 

In my everyday life I became a 'closet' Baba lover - keeping 
my Baba pictures and a large Baba poster in my bedroom walk-in 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 287 

closet. I wanted to keep this very special part of my life private 
because my husband had no interest in learning about Baba or 
attending meetings with me. Also he had been uncomfortable when 
I had shared a children's Baba book with our son. I became aware of 
my own deep feelings for Baba when I realized that I would stick to 
Baba even if my husband asked me choose between Baba or remain- 
ing married to him. I was surprised by these feeling because up to 
this time my husband and marriage had been my life and security. 

Fortunately I didn't have to choose between my husband 
and Baba. There were other problems in the marriage which even- 
tually prompted him to ask for a trial separation in 1 975. 1 was very 
sad and shocked because I loved my husband and had hoped things 
would work out for us. However in various ways, I felt Baba's lov- 
ing support and guidance as I came to grips with this big change 
in my life. 

In January of 1976, about two months after the separation, 
I received a postcard from Barry who was on pilgrimage in India 
to visit Meherabad and Meherazad, special places associated with 
Baba's life. On the front of the postcard was a picture of Baba stand- 
ing on Seclusion Hill. I can remember reading the postcard as I stood 
by the mailbox — it was a pivotal event in this lifetime. In the card 
Barry invited me to join him in India because it was very impor- 
tant to visit Baba's Samadhi and meet the mandali. He said I should 
come as soon as possible so that we could be there together. 

My first thought was, How can I go to India? For one thing 
my husband David wouldn't approve and secondly, How can I 
leave my son Dean! Then I realized that I no longer had to worry 
about David's approval because we were separated. As for Dean, 
he had been spending more time with his Dad since the separation. 
Perhaps he would be okay as well. I knew then that if arrangements 
could be made for Dean, I really wanted to join Barry in India. 

By Baba's grace, not only did David agree to take care 
of Dean, but he also offered to pay for my plane ticket to India. 
With the help of friends in the Atlanta Baba group, I quickly 
made arrangements for my trip. My friend Ted Vigodsky offered 
to take me to the airport. To this day it still amazes me that 



288 Finding God In North Carolina 

within three weeks of getting Barry's postcard, I left for India. 
I had known nothing about what to pack, what airline to take, 
what shots to get and so on. These days even though I am a 
more experienced traveler, it often takes me several months to 
get ready to go to India. It seemed that Baba really wanted me to 
come to India quickly. 

After making the necessary arrangements, I sent a cable to 
Barry telling him the dates I was coming. His reply was a bit dis- 
tressing. He was really happy that I was coming, but he wouldn't 
be there during the first week of my stay. He would be helping 
with some documentary filming of Baba lovers in Andhra state 
with Irwin Luck. However, he assured me that all would be well. 
He would have his friend David Fenster meet me at the Bombay 
airport and bring me to Ahmednagar. He said I would recognize 
David because he had red hair and would be wearing a cowboy 
hat, not a typical description of people in the airport. 

My parents were very surprised when I told them about 
my upcoming trip to India. They knew a little about my interest 
in Baba but having two of their children in India at the same 
time, especially their somewhat conventional daughter, was a bit 
overwhelming. My mother commented that I had always been so 
religious growing up. Later they really respected Baba because 
they saw that Barry and I both had benefited from our relationship 
with Him. Later, our whole family, including my younger sisters, 
visited the Center together. 

Most appropriately, I left for India on Valentine's Day. My 
dear cousin Linda who was living in Boston met me in New York 
and went with me to the airport for my Air India flight. I had never 
been out of the country and was feeling a bit overwhelmed as I 
walked toward my gate. Linda says I looked very small to be head- 
ing off on such a big adventure. 

The trip was exhausting. The already long trip was made 
even longer because of some mechanical delays. I also couldn't sleep, 
didn't know to drink lots of water and to limit my alcohol intake. A 
very attractive off duty Air India navigator invited me to join him in 
the First Class lounge for drinks and refreshments. One could say that 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 289 

I was distracted by some worldly pleasures of maya. I think Baba was 
doing some cleaning of impressions before I got to His home. 

Although I was pretty mentally exhausted as the plane flew 
lower to land at the Bombay airport, I felt a tremendous feeling of 
home sickness as I viewed India from the air. I felt as though I was 
returning home after a very long time.These feelings were surpris- 
ing to me because I had never been to India and was also pretty 
nervous about what to expect. 

David was easy to spot when he greeted me at the airport. 
We went together to the home of Nargis Dadachanji. Nargis, whose 
family had close connections with Baba, welcomed me with a big 
hug. Her hug and a beautiful picture of Baba made me feel right at 
home. We rented rooms at her home for several days before con- 
tinuing the journey to Ahmednagar. 

David and I and several other passengers, including 
Khorshed Irani, took a taxi together. To break up the journey we 
stopped in Pune to have lunch with Baba's brother Jal. It was 
special meeting Khorshed and Jal, but at the time I had no idea 
of their lives of service to Baba. I remember Khorshed taking 
Baba's name when we got a flat tire. It was one of my early lessons 
to remember Baba at times of difficulty. 

Before going to our accommodations in Ahmednagar, we 
stopped at the Samadhi, Baba's tomb shrine, to pay our respects. 
Afterwards, Nana Kher, the tomb attendant, gave everyone Prasad, 
a hug and a warm, "Welcome Home." While hugging me, Nana 
Kher also added one additional line. He said: "Your brother arrived 
this morning." Those words were nectar to my ears. 

Barry and I had a joyous reunion that day, meeting each 
other halfway around the world at the Sablok Hotel. He explained 
that the filming trip to Andhra had ended earlier than expected 
which allowed him to arrive on the exact day that I did. In the 
worldly sense, the long journey to India ended with this reunion 
with my brother. Later, however, I was to have an unexpected 
reunion with my Beloved as well. 

Barry was my pilgrimage guide - making sure that I took 
advantage of being near Baba's special places and close followers. 



290 Finding God In North Carolina 

I had arrived in India with no idea of what to expect. At first I 
approached every new experience intellectually as an observer, 
sometimes wondering what one was supposed to feel, for example, 
at Baba's tomb. 

Gradually my heart began to open as I met many of Baba's 
close Mandali at Meherazad and Meherabad. In the special atmo- 
sphere of these settings, I was inspired by their stories of life with 
Baba, and through them, I learned more about what it meant to 
love and obey Him. 

One day, when I was visiting Baba's Samadhi, Nana 
Kher asked me to share my Baba story. We sat on the mandap, a 
covered stone platform opposite Baba's tomb/shrine. When I got 
to the part of my story where I described feeling despondent and 
abandoned by God, I had a sudden realization. On some level 
I was still feeling abandoned. I had never let go of that feeling 
even though later on I had experienced Baba's loving presence 
in my life. Furthermore, if God had abandoned me why was I in 
India sitting across from the tomb of the Avatar of this age? In 
that moment of realization, Meher Baba, the master psychiatrist, 
lifted a barrier that had blocked my ability to feel the depth of 
His love for me. During the rest of my stay in India I experi- 
enced a loving reunion and honeymoon with the Beloved of my 
heart. 

The Baba birthday celebration on February 25th was a 
magical time for me. As I celebrated this event with hundreds of 
other devotees, I felt as though the atmosphere at Meherabad was 
permeated with the sweetness of Baba's love. The love and longing 
I felt during the birthday and in other events of my three week's 
stay is hard to convey in words. In order to express the inexpress- 
ible, I was inspired to write two Baba songs. The words below are 
from one of the songs: 

Your Love is the flame that sets life aglow 
A beacon that pierces the night 
Guiding wayfarers to Love 's abode 
Place of the heart 's delight. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 291 

I left India on March 8th. Baba had filled my cup to the 
brim and I felt His loving presence on the journey home and upon 
my return. This love gave me the strength to face some challenges 
after the breakup of my marriage. Later I felt Baba's loving hand in 
introducing me to my husband, John, who has shared the continu- 
ing adventure of growing in Baba's Love. In the thirty years since 
that first India trip, my relationship with Baba has deepened. He 
continues to guide, support and sustain me throughout each day 
and through every joy and sorrow. I feel tremendous gratitude for 
all that He has given and continues to give. 

Carol was raised in Wilmington and now lives part-time in 
Chapel Hill and part-time in India. 

Kaye Panicke Lewy 

When I sat down to write my Baba story, the first memory that 
came to mind was of being in Mandali Hall in 1 986. Eruch, perched 
on his hassock, was asking newcomers to relate their stories of 
meeting Baba. It was thrilling to hear as one person after another 
told powerful, moving, and often near miraculous accounts of their 
coming to Meher Baba. However, as I listened, I became more and 
more tense as Eruch moved around the room getting closer to me. 
All I could think of was how paltry and ordinary my story was, no 
bells or whistles. I hoped he'd passed me over. 

Finally, as my tension reached a crescendo, it was my turn 
to tell my story. There was clearly no escaping Eruch's gentle 
probe. He asked me how long I'd been with Baba, and when I 
replied, "Seven years," he said, "But why did you wait so long to 
come to India?" Prepared for the question, I answered, "Because 
Baba didn't call me." Not skipping a beat, Eruch said, "Oh He 
called you. You just didn't listen." 

Feeling humbled and inadequate, I began my story by 
relating how I had gone through a terrible breakup of my marriage 
and family, resulting in a cynicism so bitter, my life long trust and 
love for God eroded completely. I was disinterested in religion, 



292 Finding God In North Carolina 

especially the concept of love. However, despite this overt dis- 
interest, I occasionally sought out speakers and gurus, attended 
workshops and practiced yoga. 

About that time, while living in Black Mountain, North 
Carolina, I met a young woman at church, Marge, who I invited to 
attend a yoga group at my house. After several months in the group, 
she told me she had visited a spiritual retreat center in Myrtle Beach 
dedicated to an Indian master, Meher Baba, who proclaimed He 
was God. Disappointed in her judgement, I told her that educated, 
intelligent people like us shouldn't get confused or allow ourselves 
to be taken in by such a person or claim. Afterwards, I completely 
forgot the conversation, including the name Meher Baba. 

Several months later, in June, 1978, after moving to 
Wilmington and attending a yoga group there, I heard myself 
asking the teacher if she knew anyone who could tell me about 
Meher Baba and the retreat center in Myrtle Beach. Having no 
recollection of the discussion with Marge, I had absolutely no 
idea how I knew the name Baba. In fact, it was almost ten years 
later that Marge reminded me of that discussion. 

The yoga teacher put me in touch with a local Baba fol- 
lower who made arrangements for us to go the Center the next 
weekend. My cynicism was still so great, however, that I was not 
favorably impressed with the Baba follower or with a movie I saw 
of Baba washing lepers' feet. The next day, a Saturday morning, 
we found ourselves trudging up the path to Kitty Davy's house for 
my introductory meeting, which old timers will remember was the 
custom on the Center. 

In her inimitable manner, Kitty made me feel comfortable 
enough to ask her to tell me about her own experiences with Baba. 
We sat in her tiny office for a solid hour, with no phone inter- 
ruptions or knocks at the door, an occurrence I was to learn later, 
was unprecedented. How I wish I could remember what she said, 
but I do not, not one word! Leaving her office in something of 
a dream state, I walked back across the Center, weeping. I wept 
without knowing it, while I was having the most incredibly pow- 
erful feeling I had COME HOME. The God of my childhood and 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 293 

Baba were the same. I had a gut feeling of familiarity and I knew I 
had inexpliquably fallen deeply in love. I knew too, having peered 
into that universal well of reality, my life would never be the same. 
I was frightened by what this might mean and might demand of 
me. I wept joyful, lovely tears of reunion through the rest of the 
weekend. 

For most of the following twenty years, I was privileged to 
return to the Center every other weekend, sometimes every week- 
end. In so doing, I was fortunate to hear many accounts from Baba 
lovers who had met Him, and these accounts increased my feel- 
ing of the closeness and reality of His ever present life, which is 
always with us. 

So this was the story I told in Mandali Hall, and wonder of 
wonders, I didn't feel my story was ordinary or boring, just another 
beautiful thread woven into the shawl of many other Baba lovers. 

Kaye lives in Wilmington. 



Winston Salem 



Gavin Elliott 

I was born in 1953 in Charlotte, North Carolina, in a reasonably 
affluent family. My father was a doctor and incredibly proud of 
being Scottish. He wasn't one to spend money on his children 
other than for a good education and a reasonable lifestyle. Never 
any extra stuff, so I learned to work at an early age. My mom was 
a recovering Catholic, so to speak. She wanted us to be involved 
in the Church, but was still kinda scarred by her Catholic days. My 
father was an atheist, but grew up in the Methodist Church. So we, 
his children, went to the best Methodist church in town, a good 
place to be seen - which was always important to my mother in 
particular. My dad wasn't particularly social, but my mom always 
wanted to belong in the social scene. 

My experience at church as a child was that I first felt 
something warm about Jesus, but that the church experience itself 
was an upper class social scene not focused on spirituality at all. It 
gave me a very negative impression of the whole concept of God 
and I declared myself an agnostic in my early teens. 

About that time, I also started getting more and more inter- 
ested in music - mostly listening. The Beatles were coming along 



296 Finding God In North Carolina 

and I got very enamored with the whole peace/love movement. 
Some of my friends started getting involved in drugs, marijuana 
first, and it wasn't long before we started doing hallucinogens. We 
bought into Timothy Leary's concept of mind expansion. 

I left North Carolina at the age of 1 6 and went to a board- 
ing school in Colorado and got even more involved with drugs, a 
peace/love lifestyle, and with the Revolution concept. I started to 
get involved also with hitchhiking and traveling around the coun- 
try and meeting people. 

When I finished high school, I wasn't really interested in 
continuing on with anything because my parents were willing to 
support certain interests only. My interests at that time were theatre 
and music and my parents thought that was a complete waste of 
somebody's life. I started hitchhiking around the country work- 
ing odd jobs and, in 1973 eventually made it back to North Caro- 
lina where I met a young woman almost exactly my age. We were 
about two weeks apart in age. We fell into complete infatuation 
and got married in a month. It was a wonderful relationship for 
about two years. 

Then things started falling apart. She had been an incred- 
ible stimulus for me to get back involved with school and to get 
an education. I had never really learned to study in my life and she 
taught me how to study. That set a new course for my life, but as 
our marriage fell apart and conflict evolved around any possible 
issue it could, we split up. 

She went to California and I stayed in North Carolina. 
After awhile, I was dating another girl and that fell apart. Both of 
those situations I found incredibly heartrending. I was emotion- 
ally destroyed, wasn't doing much of anything in school and was 
drifting. I got even more involved with drugs and was very disil- 
lusioned. I came to a point after inner self-analysis that there was 
nothing left worth living for except for love. But I was also con- 
vinced that every time I fell in love, I screwed it up. 

It was this horrible inner dilemma that the only mean- 
ingful thing in life, I would ruin. It started to create a very 
extreme inner desperation - to the point that I just wanted to 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 297 

die. I couldn't see any reason to carry on. I was pretty isolated. 
I had friends but I didn't feel comfortable with anybody. I still 
felt myself to be an agnostic but wasn't looking for God at that 
point. Then I made a significant attempt on my life which turned 
out to be unsuccessful, and probably should have been success- 
ful, at least technically speaking. It was a major drug overdose 
given intravenously. I lost consciousness and had only the sense 
of darkness and falling. Then, from deep within me, came this 
thought, Oh God. What have I done?! and I immediately woke 
up. It was only a few minutes after I had injected myself, and I 
was completely clear-headed. I had this internal sense that, Now 
this is My life. This was in 1977. 

I grabbed a little day pack, threw in a change of clothes 
and hit the road. I started hitchhiking West. I wasn't sure where I 
was going, but every ride I'd take, I would ask people, "What do 
you know about God?" Car after car, I would discuss this sub- 
ject. I hitchhiked to New Mexico. I hitchhiked up into Colorado, 
hitchhiked back to North Carolina, hitchhiked up to the North- 
east and then came back to North Carolina - not settling down 
anywhere for more than a night. Just moving and asking per- 
son after person the same question, "What do you know about 
God?" Most people didn't know a whole lot and the answer was 
usually on a Christian basis, though there was some New Age 
people and some people tried to get me interested in Scientol- 
ogy. And there were some people who were talking about this 
guru or that guru. 

In the Spring of 1 979, 1 ended up back in Charlotte in the 
place I was renting and went back to school. I was registered for 
a one-credit-hour course just to say I was going to school. I start- 
ing playing guitar again, and I started putting together a band. We 
started getting some gigs. I would spend most of my free time 
when I wasn't practicing guitar sitting around on campus talking 
to people about spirituality or reading the various books I could 
find in various bookstores about God. I read the Bhagavad Gita, 
the Koran and the Bible - everything I could find. I did not come 
across any books about Meher Baba. 



298 Finding God In North Carolina 

One day I was sitting on the steps of the school talking to 
my friend Abby Hoffman. I told her there was only one God and 
all the religions were talking about the same God; and that there 
was some Prophet or Messenger who came periodically with the 
same message over and over again. But the message was distorted 
by mankind and the religions were generated afterwards. I'd come 
to intuit this. Abby said to me, "I think should you find out about 
Meher Baba. I think you would like Him." 

That was when I first heard Baba's name even though I 
had come across it in Baba Ram Dass's book, Be Here Now, in the 
early 70's. But it didn't register with me at the time. I asked her 
how I could learn more about Meher Baba. She said, "Oh there are 
books around." I said, "I know but I haven't seen them. There are 
none around here." She said, "There is a couple here, Patty and 
Al DeFalco, who are going to have a Baba meeting and they have 
some Baba books. They'll loan you some." 

Soon after that, there was a Sunday afternoon Baba gather- 
ing at the DeFalcos that I 'crashed'. I showed up on my bicycle. 
There was a group of people there, a couple of whom I had seen in 
other places in Charlotte, but didn't know well. There was a picnic 
and after the picnic everybody went down to a nearby lake and went 
swimming. We came back to the DeFalco 's house. It got dark and 
everybody left except me. I hadn't heard a single word about Meher 
Baba. I hung around I and helped Al clean up and told him, "Well I 
came here to learn about Meher Baba." He said, "Oh that's good." 
So I asked, "Well, are there some books?" and he said, "Yeah there 
are some books." I said, "Do you have any?" He said, "Yeah. Yeah 
I have some." I asked, "Can I borrow one?" And he said, "No." I 
said, "No?" He said, "That's right." I said, "Why?" He said, "Well, 
everytime I lend out a Baba book, I lose it. Nobody ever gives them 
back. I'm tired of losing all my Baba books. Besides I don't even 
know you." I said, "Well, funny you should mention that because 
I rode my bike out here and it's getting dark and I was wondering 
if maybe you could give me a ride home? Then you would know 
where I live." We went back and forth and finally he ended up loan- 
ing me God to Man, Man to God and gave me a ride home. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 299 

I didn't have a lot of obligations or responsibilities at 
that point so I spent the next week basically doing nothing but 
reading that book. I still remember distinctly having this "Aha!" 
moment when I was reading and a thought occurred in my mind 
that resounded through my whole being. It was the most profound 
thought I had ever experienced in my life and it was very simply, 
This man knows the Truth. I read the book straight through and 
took it back to Al and Al said, "You didn't like it?" I said, "No, it 
was great." He said, "Don't you want to finish it?" I said, "I did fin- 
ish it." And he said, "You have only had it for a short time." I said, 
"Well I've been doing nothing but read it." "Do you have anything 
else?" He said, "There are several other books". I asked, "Do you 
have a book that Baba wrote?" He said, "Yes. There's this one 
book that's very intellectual and a lot of people don't get through 
it. In fact I haven't got through it." I said, "Well, I'll try. Let me 
borrow it." So I took God Speaks and was blown away by it. Just 
blown away. I read it through and took it back to Al. 

I started going to Al and Patty's pretty regularly to talk 
about Baba. Al wouldn't say much, but Patty and I would talk quite 
a bit and she kept telling me that I needed to go down to the Meher 
Spiritual Center. She mentioned Kitty and that there was a fellow 
from India there at that time visiting. I'd been planning for some 
time to visit a commune near Taos, New Mexico, run by Baba Ram 
Dass and was bound and determined to do that first. 

I got my backpack and my guitar and started hitchhiking 
from Charlotte to New Mexico. I didn't even get out of Charlotte 
before I got dropped off at an intersection near the outskirts of town 
and the thought came into my mind, I'm so close. Why don 't I just 
go down to Myrtle Beach first? So I just hitchhiked down to Myrtle 
Beach unannounced and got down there late in the afternoon after 
dinnertime. A girl was giving me a ride down Highway 1 7, then a 
divided highway with a sand median. I saw the green gate that Patty 
had described at the entrance to the Center and said, "That must be 
it." The girl slowed suddenly to turn into the median to turn around 
and got her car stuck. I tried to help her get it out of the sand, but it 
was useless. I said, "I can just walk over there into the Center, and 



300 Finding God In North Carolina 

get some help." I walked over, went through the green gate and 
walked down to what turned out to be the Gateway, but there was 
no one there. So I walked down the road into the Center thinking, 
It must not be far and I will find someone. I walked and walked 
and walked and came to a crossroads and took a left. I walked and 
walked and walked and came to a few cabins but I felt drawn down 
this one particular direction. 

I came to a building that I felt drawn to. Out of nowhere, 
a woman appeared and said, "You look lost. Can I help you?" I 
said, "I guess I need to see Kitty Davy." She gave me directions 
to Kitty's house. I walked there, rang the doorbell and Kitty 
answered the door herself. I could hardly see her as there was 
a bright light behind her head. I said, "I'm looking for Kitty 
Davy." She said, "I'm Kitty Davy. Why are you here?" I said, "I 
heard about Meher Baba and I'm very interested in Him and am 
wondering if I can stay here?" She said, "Who told you about 
this place?" I said, "Al and Patty DeFalco." She told me to wait, 
closed the door, and was gone for about five minutes. She came 
back, opened the door and said, "You can't stay her tonight. 
We're full. You'll have to go to the Claymore Hotel. It's inex- 
pensive. You stay there tonight and come back here promptly at 
9 am." My mind started working and I said, "I can just sleep on 
the floor." She said, "No. We don't do that here. You just come 
back tomorrow promptly at nine." I started thinking, These peo- 
ple aren 't so spiritual. They won 't even let me sleep on the floor. 
As if I knew what 'spiritual' was. 

She had arranged for someone to take me to the motel. This 
young man started to give a ride up to Highway 17. At this point 
I remembered the girl and her car stuck in the sand. I asked the 
young man if he could help me and he agreed to drive down and 
see if we could help her. But she was no longer there. By this time 
my mind had been working more and I thought, This is not a spiri- 
tual place. I don 't think I want to stay here. I will just go ahead and 
hitchhike out to New Mexico tonight. It was ludicrous as I wouldn't 
have got any decent rides. I told him to let me out so I could 
hitchhike to New Mexico and he resisted, saying Kitty had told 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 301 

him to take me to the hotel. I was adamant and he relented, letting 
me out right at the Gateway and drove off. 

Not two minutes later, a car came down the road so I put 
out my thumb. A little VW Volkswagen pulled up and I walked 
over as the window was being rolled down. I heard a voice come 
out, "I don't pick up hitchhikers. But what are you doing here?" I 
looked in and saw some Baba cards pasted on the dashboard. I told 
him how I got there and he said, "Come with me. I think I know a 
place you can stay." This was Win Coates. 

Win drove me up into North Myrtle Beach to someone's 
home. I could tell that Win was feeling good, doing a good deed. 
He got out of the car with some bounce in his step and went into 
the house. A couple of minutes later, he came back, walking slow 
with his head down. He opened the door, got back in the car and 
said, "Well, you can't stay here. But I know another place." So off 
we went to another house. Win went in, looking upbeat, happy and 
with a bounce in his step. Five minutes later, he came out with his 
head down, walking slow. He got in the car and said, "You can't 
stay here either. But I know somebody else." So we go to the third 
house. He went in happy and came out head down, walking slow. 
Again the same response. When he said, "I think I know somebody 
else." I said, "It's OK. I'll go stay in the hotel." 

He took me back to the hotel and I spent the night. I woke 
up in the morning, and again I'd lost my mood. I went and had 
breakfast and thought, I'll go to New Mexico but I ought to go 
for a walk on the beach. So I walked and walked and walked 
on the beach. The sun got higher and it started to get warmer. 
I thought, / ought to head back. So, I started walking back to 
where I was staying. I got tired of walking and thought, I'll just 
go up to Highway 1 7 and hitchhike the rest of the way. So, I took 
the next little path off the beach and went over a little bridge and 
onto a paved road. I started walking up the road just enjoying the 
morning. I came up to a driveway on the left and was curious, 
thinking, What's here? I took a couple of steps into the driveway 
and immediately Kitty walked out her front door over to me, 
looked at her watch, and said, "Oh there you are. Just on time. 



302 Finding God In North Carolina 

And here is the man I want to show you around." Jeff Wolverton 
was there. He took me back to the hotel where we got my gear 
and came back. 

He took me over to the Lagoon Cabin and said, "You might 
want to go in here for a little while." I went in, sat in the seat, and 
as soon as my butt hit the cushion, I heard an authoritative voice 
from within me say, If you want to be with Me, get rid of it now. I 
knew exactly what it meant because I had a bunch of LSD in my 
wallet. I got up, walked over to the bathroom near the Meeting 
Hall, and flushed everything I had down the toilet. It was the last 
drugs I ever had. I went back to the Lagoon Cabin and sat back 
down. The same voice said to me: You want experience? I'll show 
you experience. Over the next two weeks at the Center, I had an 
amazing array of inner experiences from seeing everything white 
with nothing but Baba's face, to a shift in perspective where my 
consciousness was a point and all of creation was being reflected 
off the inner surface of a bubble. It turned out that the cabin I had 
been so drawn to was being occupied by Adi K. Irani. 




Lagoon Cabin, Meher Spiritual Center 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 303 

I would go see Adi privately and at the public meetings 
and was absolutely blown away. I would also go sit with Kitty for 
about half an hour every morning. By the end of the two weeks, I 
was convinced Baba was way beyond anything I had ever known. 

I went back home and wasn't there too long when I told my 
mother about Meher Baba. She expressed interest and later invited 
me over to their house for dinner. Later that week, I showed up for 
dinner. My father wasn't around and there was one place-setting at 
the kitchen counter rather than at the table. I said, "Aren't you going 
to eat?" She said, "Well, I'm not really hungry." I said, "Where's 
Dad?' She said, "He had a meeting." It was interesting that on the 
night they invited me over, he wasn't there. It had never happened 
before. I sat down when she served the food. I was eating only a 
few moments when the front door bell rang. My mother excused 
herself and then came back with two policemen who handcuffed 
me and took me to a psychiatric ward. 

It was like a scene out of a movie when they took me to the 
hospital. They took me up to the top floor to an all tile room where 
I was checked in. Through the small windows of the room, I could 
see and hear a raging thunderstorm. It was very dramatic. 

The next day they put me in a regular room and a psychia- 
trist came to see me. I came to learn that he was a friend of my 
mother's and had already decided I was nuts. I quit talking to him 
pretty quickly as I could see he was trying to twist everything I had 
to say. He was obviously very skeptical about the possibility that 
Meher Baba could be God. I wasn't going to try and convince him. 
We reached an impasse. He wanted me to take some anti-psychotic 
medication and I refused. According to the law in North Carolina 
at the time, he could not force me to take the medication unless I 
did something dangerous. The courts assigned me a lawyer. He 
came to see me and we had some very good conversations. 

A couple of weeks later, we ended up in a little court scenario 
and the psychiatrist recommended I should be committed to the 
State Institution for ninety days as I was paranoid-schizophrenic. 
The paranoia was based on the fact that that I had expressed some 
concern to a nurse about how I was going to get out of there. The 



304 Finding God In North Carolina 

lawyer convinced the judge there was a potential problem with the 
family relationship with the psychiatrist and managed to get the 
court to assign a psychiatrist who had no relationship with the fam- 
ily. But the concession he gave was that I would take medications 
as ordered. It wasn't something I agreed to, but he agreed to it, so 
I was bound to it. 

We went back to the hospital and this psychiatrist recom- 
mended some anti-psychotic medications. I refused them, so a 
bunch of fellows much larger than me held me down and gave me 
a shot in the butt. I got pretty spaced out and realized, Well that 
technique is not going to work. Over the ensuing weeks, I would 
show up for my medications at the medication window right on 
time. I would take my pill, pop it under my tongue, walk down the 
hall to my bedroom and flush it down the toilet. They then decided 
I was getting much better on these anti-psychotic medications. 

I felt Baba's presence to an incredible degree in the psy- 
chiatric unit. I had very little to do except to remember Him. The 
doctors wanted me to be involved in a little discussion group and 
I went to it once. I found a bunch of neurotic housewives who had 
checked themselves in for a week away from home. They were 
discussing issues of a life of which I had nothing in common. So I 
started to teach myself piano and continued to remember Baba. 

I also remembered that Baba's mother had got psychia- 
trists involved after He got kissed by Babajan. I felt that Baba was 
behind it all and my love and faith in Him deepened. There were 
no distractions. The work that had begun at Myrtle Beach had a 
chance to consolidate in this almost monastic life. 

At the next meeting with the judge, I was released to 
the custody of my parents for three months. I was 25 years old. 
I became their yard boy and knowing that my parents would be 
checking my medications, I spent the three months throwing the 
medications down a toilet on a regular basis. When my last day 
came, I left and hitchhiked to California where I tried to meet Ivy 
Duce. For some reason, she wouldn't see me. I was referred to 
stay at the Box, Rick Chapman's place. I was welcomed there and 
we talked and exchanged stories. I later told them my story about 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 305 

Myrtle Beach and a guy said, "That room we put you in was Adi's 
room." Another link with Adi. That is my story. 

Gavin lived in Charlotte and now lives in Winston-Salem. 

Barbara Haliburton 

I first came to the Center from Winston Salem with my friend, 
Deene Olsen. I just knew vaguely about Baba. At that time, I had 
been on the metaphysical path for many years and had got to the 
place where I felt that 'the universe'or 'all that is' was good enough 
terminology for the Divine. I was really happy with that aspect of 
my life. We came down in March, 1 99 1 . 1 never met Kitty. She was 
in the hospital at that time. 

On that first visit, the first thing I thought was, I have never 
seen so many pictures of anybody in my life. Now my house looks 
like the Center with all my Baba pictures. 

I enjoyed the scenery and the nature, but I didn't know 
what I thought about Baba. However, it was interesting and fun to 
see the films of Him. I did the Center tour and went to some sort of 
a potluck. Everybody was so friendly, so sweet and so nice. I also 
got to meet Jane and ask all the questions I had in my heart. Her 
answers just sort of melted everything. I felt Baba just drew me in. 
One of the feelings I always had in my life, was that I was a love 
channel. I had great love for people and great love for Divinity. At 
a very young age I had dedicated my life to Christ in the Southern 
Baptist Church and had intended to be a foreign missionary. And 
I was married to a part-time minister. 

So there was always this love for the Christ. When I 
opened up to Baba, He gave me a place to put all this love that I 
had in my heart for the Divinity. He was very close and personal. 
He felt much more close by than I had felt any other spiritual 
being before. 

It was a gradual, easy, wonderful transition into Baba and 
into Baba's love. One of the most things that most catalyzed me 
was seeing Baba in a film sitting on a car waving to the people 



306 Finding God In North Carolina 

with a very definite and distinct halo around his head. That was 
another clincher for me. It was gradual and wonderful and it's been 
fifteen years now. It seems like yesterday. 

Barbara lives in Winston-Salem. 



Deene Olsen 

My husband had a work conference in the summer of 1977 at 
Myrtle Beach. I was expected to go there with him and our son, 
and my sister and her family were to meet us there. I had been 
reading a book by Ram Dass and there was a list of retreats in the 
back. The Meher Spiritual Center was listed for Myrtle Beach. 

I called the Center to arrange a tour and my husband, my 
sister and I were given a lovely tour by an oceanographer, Rich 
D'Amato, from Raleigh. 

At the end of the tour at the Gatehouse, Kitty asked to 
speak to me alone. She wanted to know why I had come there and 
I explained several times that I had seen Meher Baba's astrological 
chart in the book, The Handbook for the Humanistic Astrologer, 
and it had piqued my curiosity. I also told her I thought the Center 
was a beautiful and serene place. Then Kitty would say, "Yes, but 
why have you come?" And I would explain the same thing again. 

I became fairly terrified and didn't visit again until 1981. 
At that time, my daughter Karen's college friend, Leslie, was visit- 
ing the Center and Karen stayed a few days with her. She wanted 
me to stay one night with her which I did. It was a wondrous night 
in the Lake Cabin. I was hypnotized by Baba's picture there and 
felt complete peace. Then I knew the answer to Kitty's question! 

Deene lives in Winston-Salem. 



THE APPENDIX 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 309 



Sharon Muir's 1967-8 Letters 



310 Finding God In North Carolina 




HENRY & KECHA KASHOUTY 

117 CRESCENT DRIVE 

HAMPTON, VIRGINIA - 23361 

AREA CODE 703 

OFFICE RESIDENCE 

722-2589 244-4338 

August 3, 1967 



Miss E, Sharon Harmon 

232 MeCauley Street 

Apartment 2 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514 



Dear Shsron: 



I enjoyed your letter so much and from the sounds you make it 
seems to me you are moving in the right direction, What you 
realize about Deing light-hearted in terms of the material 
world is a very good attitude to maintain. Baba once said 
that ninety-nine per cent of all suffering is unnecessary and 
it follows that once we know what it is that causes suffering 
we are in a position to at least try to do something constantly 
to lessen it. 

I think the greatest single attitude of mind as we are developinj 
is to cultivate and maintain a sense of humor. 

Hope to see you this coming Monday as I pain to attend the 
meeting. In regard to the last thing you said in your letter 
"but you just wish it would hurry up and do it", I think that 
this is perhaps what. Baba feels about us','. 

Love in Baba. 



Henry 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 311 



,A 



EHSR8AEA' AKMEDMA6AR TElEPHOnE NO. Set AHMKlNASAq 



HAVE CC«E 



AOI K.IRANI « THOSE W*OU*£ 

TMSIR All IN WE 

NOT TOTSACH _ CISCIPLS 4 SECSSTASY FtND THEIR AU. IN 

BUT TO AWAKEN A V A T A « MEHSR BA9* ME tf/ER ATTTr" 

-MthirBaba -mtrBaba 



M No. ' har0n Hara0n nsa-i road 

1818 Birmingham St. ahmeunagar 

TU^M, V. 3.27701, I'. 5. \. MAHARASHTRA STATl 

INDIA 

»V dear Sharon, October 1, 1967 

I received your letter Sept. 19 and read it carefully. Your letter is very interest- 
in? as it is full of sincere enquiries. Before answering all the questions one aftS 
another, I would first state what one is expected to be, to become a worthy lover, 
devotee, or disci ole of Meher Baba. 

1; One should love Meher Baba with utuwst unselfishness. 

2) One should obey Meher Baba. Tf no orders can be had directly from Hia, then one 
should live as Baba wants him or her to live from the understanding one gets 
from Meher Saba's writings. 

Answers to your Questions . 

1) The "introduction to Meher Baba" is Of primary importance. To attend Meher Baba j 
Centre meetings wculd be meaningless if one is not fully acquainted with "Who Meher I 
Baba is"? The answer to this is found in the booklet "The Highest of the )i»h," 
in the words of Meher Baba. 

2} % meetings could be "to help and strengthen those who do love and try to follovi 
the Master." Undoubtedly, this subject depends on No, 1 - the greater the love for 
the Master, the greater the faith in "Vho Meher Baba is?" and greater the strerjth i 
and help. 

3) Worship is the natural element of love, and the length of time spent "to discuss": 
vith love is indeed helpful. TaM 

4} "Saba jcssiD" is a subject which some of the Centres ir. India,recour<ie to. In 
fact, the Indian flaha Centers have varied weekly programs of prayer*, sonjs. susic, 
»ossip, lectures, worship and discussions. 

Tr short, det r Sharon, all the diferent subjects asked for by different 
persons interested in Meher :laba become parts of the whole fabric of love for and 
obedience to Mim if net for now, for later. There should be no feelins of confusion 
about vhv persons want meetings to be conducted differently. Let there be iccosmcd*! 
tier) for all needs and temperaments as much as it could be practically 3one, Meher 
"hha's spiritsiatity i* not bereft of -irarticalit*. Vhon? it cannct be ,-jude practical 
(w i csrtiifi tvoe of eroTnis on certain day ;r jays then the members of the Ccntr* 
<heuld accoffPKslate the management in a spirit of levin? cooperation and hel-s. No 
"leader" is needed. Meher Baba is the only leader. May be those who have been with 
v eher -ah for a Ions; time or these who have studied 'lis works tnoro»i*hly with love 
and lunsirs? are better >laced to intrroret urd answer mictions, 

"lor! Soeaks", Meher Elba's cost important work, should be studied thom^hly arid a 
commentary !; <:h'2n of the paras and chapters therein. It is cf -treat value to '<nov 
what Meher '^ba says on Tod, spirituality, censcieusness etc. 

Vpy questions at any time are welcome to :ne. 

' ith a wi^h of Saba's Love ''Uestin? to you and to all those who attend the meetings. 

iouw-brotheriy, 



^wiw>r 



312 Finding God In North Carolina 




riKN UNION fM^ 

TELEGRAM *';t™ \z 



f-ilciraMi J 



S LOCAL TIME a 



10'4»4A 087 GEO 27-6? NSC0?6 ASH? 

A HHA015 OL PO MYRTLE BEACH S00AR _2? 11J2A EST 

SHARON HARMON- Jf oJL) ^$iiiitju-r»££ J^f 

CARE HARRY MUIR Uls&^gS^feaiS^ • 

FOtlOUINO CABLE RECEIVED FROM INDIA QUOTE JUST AS YOU ARE SHARING 
A BIT OF MY SUFFERING ONE DAY YOU MILL SHARE Wi BI.IS3 BY LOVING 
ME MORE AND MORE SIGNED MEHERBABA IN SECLUSION UNQUOTE LOVE 

ELIZABETH KITTY 
(35)*. 



Cum w &»vk-? 

i\xi 11 3 fa#l ntetssc* 
sfilwi ft* 4*Wtsd di*. ^ 



W. P. M*f)5H« 







TELEGRAM 

; ttlrtnot b TOCA1 TIME « point of .vijin Ti 



Hrt«tOCMTIMEi 



W CSTJ JAN 12 ^S HSB29S BAU50 Kli* w ^-"""^ ,f- ^ 
B 0OD876 VIA RCA ZCZC VUBO803 KNY1J4 EOS5206/12 
AWEWAQAR 32 12 1915 

SHMjgH HARMON M UIft 203 ■ % STaEET SAW-ANTONIO-TEXAS 

YOUR VERY qCESTZON PROVES THAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF LOVING MS MORE 

#!D MORE BY TWNKINa OF HE MOR* AMD MORE OFTEN 

MEHERBABA INSECLUSIOM 
COL 203 13 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 313 



Route #3 Box 80 
Mann' 8 Chapel Road 
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 
March 27, 1968 



Dear Adi: 



Chapel Hill is on the move again with a new larger readinQ room 
in a very nice location. . , Dr. Harry Kenmore will be speaking at the 
firct meeting in the aew sroc». As more and more new people attend 
the meetings, the greater or responsibility to have a suitable place 
with room for ail. 

The purpose of this letter is to ask for permission to mimeograph 
copies of the p.nmplet Meher Baba on War . These would be done by 
me with no word change and would be paid for by love gifts so they 
could be supplied free. Here in Chapel Hill as well as in all 
the United States there is constantly the weight of war on the 
shoulders of all. There is a fantastic preoccupation with war 
as many of the youth face the draft since there is no longer 
student deferment. Large rallies are scheduled here on craipus 
at the University for ne^t month concerning the "peace" movement, 
and we were hoping to be able to have in circulation copies of 
the Master's words and explanation concerning this. As far 39 I 
know there is one copy here in Chapel Hill, and the Center in 
Myrtle Beash h?s only a very few copies if any. Full credits 
would be listed e.nd pointed. If we may, we would like to have 
this accomplished within the next month. 

The other main recent project has been the "second edition" of 
the ':3 Question and Answers that the Bombay Canter released for the 
Fair in October. Again, no change. . .but In a much more concis« 
layout so that paper was conserved so that we could do miny more. 
As soon as we have them run offfl will send you .t copy. 

As work goes on, there has been severe! large articles in 
newspapers recently which the Gunns have collected and »,iii be 
sending you soon. 

Baba's name is being heard by so many new ones. At this last 
meeting </e had 10 new faces.' It has been almost one year since 
the first group heard of the Master... and faho c^uld have ever, iaagined 
the ehungeo ever since, li this isn't a miracle. ..it etififc be the 
beginning of an Awakening from a very, very deep sleep. 

I eagerly await the decision of the mimeographing oi "a her Saga on Wai 

In Baba's love, 



Sharon H. Muir 



314 Finding God In North Carolina 



ADI K. IRANI King's Road, 

Ahmednagar. (M.S.) 
India. 

April 2nd, 1968, 

My dear Sharon, 

I received your letter of March 27th on April 1st, 
when I accompanied beloved Baba and mandall to Poona and returned 
same afternoon. 

Ref . "Metier Baba On War" you are ©emitted to print 
this article in as many copies as you want with the only Notice 
printed at a suitable place. 

"By Permission from Adi K. Irani, India - Copyright" 

You may print in small type as a prefix to this Notice small letter c 
with the circle around it. If you see that this is not necessary 
or comes in wAy of anything then do not do it. 

For reproducing in print "Who Is Meher Baba? M published 
by Avatar Meher Baba Bombay Centre please write and ask Shri S.R. 
^IganpbrTaV^Bbarat MaJtaX Flatami-H2, 86 Marine Drive, Bombay-2, 
India. " •* '■<& 

We much appreciate and rejoice over the hard work 
Chapel Hill is doing to awaken men to Baba's LOVE and His Message. 



May He Bless you all, 



Yours brotherly # ^j 



ADI K. IRANI 



•?haran H. ttiir, 

Route/ 3, Box 30 

Mann's Chapel Rd. 

Chapel Hill, N. 0.27514, U.S.A. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 3 1 5 



SOCIETY FOR AVATAR MEHER BABA 

121 WEST 72nd STREET. NEW YORK. N. Y. 10023 



' v 'ay 7, 1968 
Dear Ml 33 Muir: 

This la my first official letter as new secretary of 
tha Hew xork jroup. I take pleasure in jreetin^ you. 

>,e thank you for the- material and news which you have 
sent to us. *e would like to order "Origins and effects of '..ar.' 
How much Is ltv V»s woula appreciate details. 

V»e include plates with this mail and 1 am asked to 
remind you or rather to caution you not to scratch the plates. 

-est, wishes to you an' your co-workers. 

with love in faaba 



olnoerely your: 

Curtis Sxlth 
Secretary 



316 Finding God In North Carolina 



Jfoute 3 Box 80 
Mann's Chapel Road 
Chapel Hill, K.C. 27514 
May 6, 1968 



£.■ Adelle, 

Needless to say, your call yesterday evening caught 
completely off guard and I am sure I wasn't very coherent, 

I think it might just be best for me to start from 
cratch and explain our situation here, printing wise. Unlike 
mst areas, we only have to have Adi's permission to print 
anything, so time wise we can usually wiite India one week and 
thenhprint the next... or mimeograph ... 

He have permission to do Meher Saba on War , the 40 
questions and answers, and have written for permission to do 
The Hew. World Culture from Adi. From Bombay, we have permission 
to redo the new pamplet forthcoming the first week of July for 
Saba's Silence Day, We made a desperate attempt to get permission 
to do W ho Is Meher Baba ( the new blue one,.. not the roses), but 
Mrs. Dadachanji can not give her prasaission to anyone... but will 
supply as many as needed for the price of their publication, 15$. 
So, at the moment we are desperately looking around for the next 
project... God and the Pill is no longer needed here, and since the 
new Discourses are just out, we are looking for out of print discourses 
and hard to get material to make less hard to get, 

1 am at the moment working for the University of North 
Carlliaa in the Department of City and Regional Planning as a 
secretary and general office manager, in addittta to just gaining 
access to an MT/SI. The duplicating X can do personally is on 
an A.B, Dick 525.,, plus ditto, Xerox, and photocopy. Most of the 
work has to be done after office hours, but supplies from the 
office are half price and of best quality.,, it is like Baba has 
given us our first primer as we learn to read. Maybe one day, 
off-set,.. but for now we are going to make the fullest use of what 
we have... 

The time element is simple. I have to do all personally, 
but willldo all I possibly can. Whatever you need, X will do as 
quickly as X can, ,,I do wonder if I could do enough for Hemisfair... 
but I will give it one hell of a try. 

Coild you keep in fcouch with us about your projects? We 
have obtained several copies of the new reading list forofthe reading 
room from Kitty, atd how long we have needed them! 1 do wonder if 
we could work together,.. our goal here is to get into the hands of 
the students and totnspeople as much as possible as cheaply as possible 
Since most of our group are starving students... and student's wives... 
a few professional students... and a few other breeds of humanity, fee 
are quite limited in funds.,, to be exact, we have none, Therefore, 
mimeograph is our limited. But, do give it all some thought... at least 
we could »ork out an exchange which would benefit us both. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 317 



Now, to San Antonio. Harry and I were placed there by 
Baba "permanently", . .which turned out to be only a little over one 
month. We had many experiences in San Antonio... we begin meetings... 
even if there was just the *fco of us... but we were never alone. In 
San Antonio there -was in January a "Diggers" group that was the grass 
and acid center. . .they were busted in the last part of the month. We 
took in several of the kids and helped them out... or, Baba helped 
them out. One of the more interesting experiences is how the police 
department heard of Baba. When the Diggers were busted, to get the 
police out so they could clean up, they send the detectives over 
to our house,,, wehhad given them (the Diggers) several Universal 
Messages and God and the Pill, Well, early one morning, the 
detective knocked on ay door, I opened it and let him in. He had 
heard that the "real stuff" was there. Consequently, he was given 
a Universal Message, God and the Pill, and a long talk, Baba now 
has a police file there... this may help Nick some. Most of our 
contaatB were on Fort Sam Houston where Harry was awaiting dismissal. 
The youth we ran into were desperate. I had seen many acid clans, 
but none as desperate as these. The young people had no where and 
no one.., Living in academic communities moat of my life, I had little 
experience with highschool drop out, mind rotted, thirty year old 
pushers who held their hippie following by pseudo drug cults rules. 
How one bit of Baba spread, though, almost everyday someone would 
wander to our apartment, having found a Universal Message. . .asking 
who Baba was. Needed in San Antonio is God and the Pills , Bniversal 
Messages , Meher Baba on War, and one big dose of love. We had many 
experiences with the Mexican popluation. One gentleman, speaking 
only Spanish, ca»e to fix our stove. Since I speak only street 
Italian (from old Mew York days lgng ago), I couldn't communicate 
very well. He saw apppicture of Baba, looked at it for the longest 
time, crossed himself most reverently, and feegan work. Our postman, 
looking in the window day after day, one day knocked. . .and asked 
most politely, who the man was with the beautiful eyes on our wall. 
Our stories go on for a month,. . including one ttip to the State 
Hospital for the Mentally Disturbed., .there Nick will find one 
well loved copy of the Children's Book which brought sAiles to 
many suffering eyes... and a copy of How to Love God In the hands of 
one gentleman who must be the only mast in the western hemisphere. 

Have N^ck look up Gail Neuenschwander 
3130 Missle 
San Antonio, Texas... a girl who 
attended xmpf of our meetings, who has Baba in her Heart. 
Saa is anCof fleer's daughter at Lackland Air Force Base, who knows 
mapy who may be alfte to help. I will write to Nick, to give him our 
support and a list of our contacts there. Maybe the seed we left will 
grow for him. Also, Baba sent a birthday cable to San Antonio... so 
maybe He knows there is a center there... that just doesn't know It is 
there yet... We recieved two cables from Baba in San Antonio besides 
that one, so Texas las been in Baba's attention recently. , .this may be 
the time, . .January was a little preparation. 

I must end... but I 3end my love, and hope to keep in touch 
with you. I will get 100 copies done and in the mail this week of the 
new add it ion... the old one, % am sending npto has two errors that are 
corrected. 

In Baba's unending love. 



318 Finding God In North Carolina 



^fe&nwnt, €*rtfantta 94611 



May 2k, 1968 
Los Angeles 



Dear Sharon, 

I received your letter a few days ago and told 
Allan Cohen, who is in touch with Hank Mindlen, the 
fellow Dr. Kenmore waats to contact, and I think he 
delivered Kenmore's message to him. It is good to 
hear that the Chapel Hill lovers have reprinted the 
discourse on War and I will look forward to seeing 
the copy which you are forwarding to me. 

How are you Muirs in the wooft£7 I really enjoyed 
the night I spent with you, and I hope it is not long 
before T see you all again. Baba-lnterest is consistently 
simmering all along the West coast, and I look for con- 
tinuing /boiling over* of His Love to many new places. 

Please convey my love and *JAI BABAI • to all the lovers 
at Chapel Hill and Durham — much love to you and Harry. 






Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 3 1 9 



Rou te #3 3ok 80 

Mann's Chapel Road 

Cbspei Hill, North Carolina 275! 

June 5, 1963 

Mr. Curtis Smftft, Secretary 
Society for Avatar Moher 8aba 
121 Wast 7 2nd, Street 
Now York, Mew York 10023 

Greetings: 

Please pardon my delayed reply to your fatter and package. The plates 
arrived and were found to be In good condition from the mailing, but marred 
slightly with acid soots from the last usage. We viewed the proofs and 
decided to go ahead with the printing of fhea. We are holding the proofs 
for a few days longer to make sure our initial order will covvr the- deronnd 
hers. We will return there Insured within two weeks. I will notify you on 
the date they are mailed so that you will expect then. 

Please convey to Or, Keranore that I recleved conf Inuation from San Francisco 
that the singer Hank Mlndlin had been informed of the massage and should be In 
touch with hlro by now. ..and If not, in the very near future. I did have a little 
difficulty getting In touch with the correct person to contact him, but all has 
been taken care of. 

Concerning our printing here: We have permission from Adi to mimeograph 
"f4eher Baba on War", the recent list of 40 questions and answers that canse 
from the Bombay fair, "The Hew World Culture and Other Messages'", "Meher 
Baba on the Fiery Free Life and Seven Other Messages, "the forthcoming publication 
from Bombay on the Anniversary of the Silence (we should reel eve it the first 
week of July and should have It reproduced shortly after), ''Who Is Meher Baba !: 
(the flower covered one, ..not the blue one, yet). The price per ropy Is simply 
the price of paper (which we can obtain at half the retail price for the flnost 
available). Somehow wo are going to have to (ffgora In ties price of stencils, 
ink, staples, and of course postage. "Metier Baba on War" Is a ten page p amp let 
that costs (simply for the paper) 3* fl ^opy. We are really having somewhat of 
a problem figuring out the total expense cost because we would not want to 
charge anything over the exact cost. Printing Baba material for a profit just 
doesn't sound right to me, although many do It that way. So basically what we 
do Is to give the price of paper and explain that we do not Include the very 
minimal cost of Ink or other small accidental cost, and hope that love gifts that 
are given to our printing fund will take care of thRt...os ft has in the past, 
We are not professionals. . .and certainly are rot realty equipped to do massive 
orders. I have to do ail the work myself with the major equipment in my office 
at the University. . .so several hundred at a tlmo Is our niaxfs*Ha effort. . .but given 
more time, we can put together possibly as many as a thousand. I have no basic 
capital to work from, so It Is best if the estimated cost of postage Is mailed 
with the order, and $1.39 per 450 sheets of paper to be used is mailed. (100 
copies of War, the ten page pomp let, takes two reams, so cost would be a tittle 
over $2.78 for paper.) Our oriolnal purpose in beginning was simply to get 
local circulation to the University and townspeople here... but we wl I I be glad 
to help out as much es we can for all other orders to be shipped cut. 



So, basically, that Is the situation hare. 
■*«*§» 

Please convey our love to a! I. . .especial ly to dear Or. Kenrrwre and ArtnarOSO. 
May we alt find the strength to hold on to His daawian with both hands as the time 
SQQfiis nearer and nearer. 



In Beloved Babe's love, l 8$ 



Sincerely yours 



(Mrs.) Sharon Muir 



320 Finding God In North Carolina 



1967 Winston-Salem Journal Article 
about Meher Baba 







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Winston Salem Journal, October 25, 1967, part of a five part series on 

The Highest of the High 
by Michael Smith 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 321 



Meher Baba Lovers in Chapel Hill in the 

1960s 



Libby Appley 
Ray Appley 
John Bamberger 
Winnie Barrett 
Lock Benton 
Jim Cannon 
Dorothy Cassidy 
Tucker Clark 
Sidney Davenport 
Melody Dickinson 
Lorenzo Durham 
Don Dickson 
Ellen Dixon 
Lisa Gilland 
John Gunn 
Barbara Gunn 



Brad Gunn 
Marshall Hay 
Hettie Johnson 
Phil Julian 
Shannon Julian 
Ray Kass 
Art Lester 
Alex Mcintire 
Harry Muir 
Sharon Muir 
Nancy Sasser 
Craig Smith 
Louise Smith 
Bob Underwood 
Jim Watson 



322 Finding God In North Carolina 

North Carolina Meher Baba Groups and 

Contacts 

Asheville 

Winnie Barrett, 78 Ballantine Dr., Asheville, NC 28813, 

winkiebai@charter.net 

Peter and Debbie Nordeen, 5 Fern St, Asheville, NC 28803, 

dnordeen5 1 @yahoo.com 

Chapel Hill-Durham-Raleigh 

Carol Verner, 120 Taylor St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, 
919-933-3550, wholeness@carolverner.com 

Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem 

Sheldon Herman, 2405 Kery Dr., Greensboro, NC 27408, 
336-288-8090, bikewalla@gmail.com 

Wilmington 

Kaye Panicke Lewy, 302 Holiday Hills Dr., Wilmington, 
NC 28409, 910-799-91561 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 323 



Meher Baba Centers Worldwide 

Avatars Abode 

19 Meher Rd 

Woombye, Queensland 4559 

Australia www.avatarsabode.com.au 

Avatar Meher Baba Heartland Center 
7804 NBU1, 1319 Barta Ave. 
Prague, OK 74864 USA 
www.ambhc.org 

Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California 
1214 Van Ness Ave. 
Los Angeles, CA. 90019 
USAwww.avatarmeherbaba.org/southcal 

Avatar Meher Baba Trust 

Post Bag 3 1 

King's Rd 

Ahmednagar, Maharashtra State 41001 

India www.ambppct.org 

Meher Baba Association 

Flatl 

228 Hammersmith Grove 

London W67HG 

www.meherbaba.co.uk 

Meher Baba Kilden 
Trosterundvein 25C 
Oslo, 0778 
Norway 



324 Finding God In North Carolina 

Meher Mount 

9902 Sulphur Mount Rd. 

Ojai, CA 93023 

USA www.meherbabainformation.org 

Meher Spiritual Center 
10200 Highway 17N 
Myrtle Beach, SC 29572 
USA www.mehercenter.org 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 325 

Towns and Cities Baba Passed Through or 
Visited in North Carolina 

Central North Carolina Cities 

Chapel Hill en route to Durham in June, 1952 
Durham-Duke Hospital four days in June, 1952 
Pittsboro en route to Durham in June, 1952 
Raleigh- the train station en route to S.C. in April, 1952 

Western North Carolina, May, 1952 

Brasstown 

Brevard (stopped for ham sandwiches) 

Cashiers 

Cedar Mountain 

Cherryfield 

Cullasja 

Gniess 

Franklin (Cherokee capital) 

Hayesville 

Highlands 

Lake Toxaway 

Murphy (stayed overnite) 

Ranger 

Rosman 

Shooting Creek 

Wilmington Airport to the Meher Spiritual Center 
1956 and 1958 

Bishop 

Bolivia 

Grissettown 

Shallotte 

Wilmington 



326 Finding God In North Carolina 

Letter from Kitty Davy to Jane Haynes 
describing a visit to North Carolina 

YouponDunes November 5, 1960 

Dear Jane: 

I cannot even say — it is ages since I last wrote because I have not written 
since you were here! I have left all the writing to Elizabeth. I owe Wendy a 
long letter. She wrote me such a sweet one just after she returned to N.Y.! 
Well, hers will follow this and then I have two enclosures for Charles from 
the shredded- wheat boxes. 

Still I hear all your news through E. and no doubt you hear all ours 
through E. So where to begin with something a little new! 

Yes, Elizabeth and I took a little jaunt together, the first in eight 
years, as we never have gone away a night together- it always being nec- 
essary to leave one of us here. Well, we went to Raleigh to a Community 
Concert. Eileen Farrell- very perfect in many ways, but somehow she did not 
move me- it didn't touch certain chords and yet you could not have found any 
fault. Such perfection! 

We stayed the night and next morning and we went off to visit our 
Indian friend. After great difficulty we met — we went to Duke University 
instead of Chapel Hill. Najoo was waiting for us and we all went out to 
lunch and had a long chat on Baba, the girls, and others we knew in India in 
bygone days — she will come to us Thanksgiving. 

Well, after we left Najoo (Kotwal), Eliz and I went on to Sanford to 
visit the head of the Chapin Foundation there and then we came through the 
most beautiful country to Pinehurst. Such coloring in Durham, Chapel Hill, 
and all along. Simple magnificent. No other word. The Ever-green State 
of S.C. cannot be compared with N.C. at this time of year. It was interest- 
ing seeing Escadio homes in Pinehurst. We got home by 7 P.M. just before 
Bessie left and Ruth had just gone up. So it ended perfectly for everyone. 

Nevertheless, after supper E. went off to see Marilyn Monroe in 
How to Make Love; and she did not stay to the end! There is a better one 
tomorrow we shall see — one you had suggested E. should see. 

Much love from us all, 
Kitty 

From Letters of Love for Meher Baba the Ancient One, compiled and edited 
by Jane Barry Haynes 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 327 



Biographical Information about Meher Baba 

Meher Baba was born Merwan Sheriar Irani on February 25, 1894 
at 5 am in Pune, India. Many believe Him to be the Avatar of the 
Age; Christ come again. The name, Meher Baba, was given to 
him by an early disciple, or mandali, and means Compassionate 
Father. 

In 1925 on July 10th Meher Baba began keeping silence 
and maintained it for 44 years. He communicated first with the use 
of an alphabet board, then by unique hand gestures. He first came 
to America in 193 1 and made many trips to the West. 

Meher Baba dropped His body on January 31, 1969, cel- 
ebrated as Amartithi, the deathless day. Not long before this, He 
stated that His work had been completed 100% to His satisfaction. 
His tomb-shrine, the Samadhi, on Meherabad Hill, approximately 
five miles from Ahmednagar, is a place of world-wide pilgrimage. 

For an online 20-volume text biography of Meher Baba 
with a wonderful search feature please visit: www.lordmeher.org 



328 Finding God In North Carolina 



Three Prayers by Meher Baba 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 329 

The Prayer of Repentance 
Given by Meher Baba in 1952 

We repent, God Most Merciful; for all our sins; for every thought 
that was false or unjust or unclean; for every words spoken that 
ought not to have been spoken; for every deed done that ought not 
to have been done. 

We repent for every deed and word and thought inspired by selfish- 
ness, and for every deed and word and thought inspired by hatred. 

We repent most specially for every lustful thought and every lust- 
ful action; for every lie; for all hypocrisy; for every promise given 
but not fulfilled, and for all slander and backbiting. 

Most specially also, we repent for every action that has brought 
ruin to others; for every word and deed that has given others pain; 
and for every wish that pain should befall others. 

In your Unbounded Mercy we ask you to forgive us, O God! For 
all these sins committed by us, and to forgive us for our constant 
failures to think and speak and act according to Your Will. 



330 Finding God In North Carolina 

The Master's Prayer 
Given by Meher Baba in 1953 

O Parvardigar, the Preserver and Protector of All, 
You are without Beginning, and without End; 
Non-dual, beyond Comparison; and none can measure You. 
You are without color, without expression, without form, without 
attributes. 

You are unlimited and unfathomable, beyond imagination and con- 
ception; eternal and imperishable. 

You are indivisible; and none can see You, but with eyes Divine. 
You always were, You always are, and You always will be; 
You are everywhere, You are in everything; and You are also 
beyond everywhere and beyond everything. 
You are in the firmament and in the depths, You are manifest and 
unmanifest; 

On all planes, and beyond all planes. 

You are in the three worlds, and also beyond the three worlds; 
You are imperceptible and independent. 

You are the Creator, the Lord of Lords, the Knower of all minds 
and hearts; 

You are Omnipotent and Omnipresent. 

You are Knowledge Infinite, Power Infinite, and Bliss Infinite. 
You are the Ocean of Knowledge, All-Knowing, Infinitely Know- 
ing; the Knower of the past, the present, the future, and You are 
Knowledge itself. 

You are All-merciful and eternally benevolent; 
You are the Soul of souls, the One with infinite attributes; 
You are the Trinity of Truth, Knowledge, and Bliss; 
You are the Source of Truth, the Ocean of Love; 
You are the Ancient One, the Highest of the High; You are Prabhu 
and Parameshwar; You are the Beyond-God and the Beyond- 
Beyond-God also; You are Parabrahma; Allah; Elahi; Yezdan; 
Ahuramazda; and God the Beloved. 
You are Named Ezad; the only One Worthy of Worship. 



Randy Wasserstrom and Zuzanna Vee 331 

Beloved God Prayer 

Given by Meher Baba in 1959 

Beloved God, help us all to love you more and more, 

and more and more 

and still yet more 

till we become worthy of union with you; 

And help us all to hold fast to Baba's daaman 

till the very end. 

Amen. 




Avatar Metier Baba 



Finding God In North Carolina is a compila- 
tion of "coming to Baba" stories of people who 
live or lived in North Carolina. These stories 
are accompanied by original and never- 
before published maps and photographs of 
Meher Baba's time in North Carolina. 

Baba stated that a spiritual rebirth would 
begin in America and indeed the first Baba 
group of the "next generation" began in 
Chapel Hill in 1967. Finding God in North 
Carolina is also a chronicle of the beginnings 
of that group and other Baba groups in North 
Carolina - facilitating the spread of Divine love 
throughout the state. 



Finding God in North Carolina is a treasure 
trove of historical information and documen- 
tation including letters from Adi K. Irani, 
Meher Baba's secretary for years, telegrams 
from Baba and a 1967 Winston-Salem Journal 
article devoted entirely to the Highest of the 
High. 



At Wilmington, NC airport on May 30, 1958, one 
of Baba's close lovers asked Him, "How long have 
you been here at the airport?" 

"Since Eternity!" Baba replied. "I never come and 
I never go. I am present everywhere. Isn't it 
wonderful that I never leave? Isn't it wonderful?' 



ISBN 978-0-615-26436-3 



ID: 3000529 

www.lulu.com 




90000 

ii in mil 



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